MINSK -- Authorities in Belarus have detained Ukrainian journalist Vitaliy Sizov and ordered him to leave the country due to the fact that he was barred from entering Russia.
Sizov arrived in Minsk on February 1 to cover talks between the so-called contact group on regulating the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He told RFE/RL that Belarusian police forcibly removed him from his hotel and ordered him to leave the country within 24 hours.
"They told me Russia had barred me from entering its territory until 2021," Sizov said. "Because Russia and Belarus are members of a union state I cannot be on the Belarusian territory either, they said."
Sizov is a journalist working for a Ukrainian television channel broadcasting to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, where Ukraine's armed forces have been fighting against Russia-supported separatists since 2014.
Sizov added that he planned to leave Belarus within 24 hours, right after the talks, anyway. He is officially accredited with the Belarusian Foreign Ministry and has visited Belarus several times in the past.