Russia: Ukrainian journalist banned for 5 years

The Russian government has banned Ukrainian investigative journalist Oleg Khomenok from entry into the country due to "national security" concerns, officials informed him earlier this month.

In a written notice, the Russian Federal Security Service said it made the decision in September, and the ban would last five years.

Khomenok was refused admission into Kaliningrad in October, and turned away at the border of Belarus in March, but received no formal explanation for those incidents until now. Belarus and Russia cooperate in the enforcement of border control.

Khomenok is the national coordinator for the news site “Scoop,” which offers support for investigative journalists in the region. Scoop is managed by the Danish Association for Investigative Journalism and International Media Support, and all three organizations have criticized the Russian government in recent years for its repression of citizens and the media.

"Oppressive governments invoke national security issues in order to prevent investigative reporters from exposing wrongdoings," said OCCRP Executive Director Paul Radu Wednesday. "As cross-border investigative networks have become stronger than ever, ‘national security’ is in reality used to protect cross-border criminal networks, allowing them to continue operating with impunity and without frontiers."