Kiev Authorities Close Border with Crimea
KIEV, May 5 (RIA Novosti) – The authorities in Kiev have temporarily closed the border with Crimea as of Monday, according to a statement by the country's Cabinet of Ministers.
'In line with the tense situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea ... the entry points across the state borders and points of control located in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea are to be blocked,' the statement said.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to inform diplomatic representatives of foreign countries in Ukraine, as well as diplomatic representatives and consulates of Ukraine on the temporary closure of entry points and points of control," the statement added.
After the change of power in the country and the reunification of Crimea with Russia, the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service announced it had denied entry to over 11,000 Russian citizens, citing a need to prevent alleged radicals from entering the country.
Earlier, Russia's largest airline Aeroflot announced it was canceling flights to Kharkiv because it was denied permission to enter Ukrainian airspace.
Ukraine's ban on Russian passenger flights to Donetsk and Kharkiv breaches international agreements, but Moscow will not take reciprocal measures, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency said.
Local media have reported that Ukrainian aviation authorities said that they did not ban Russian airlines from flying to eastern cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk, but limited transportation along a particular route between Donetsk and Russia.
Last month Ukraine banned Russian males aged 16-60 from entering the country, with exceptions including men traveling with relatives who are women or children, or those who have documents confirming an invitation from close relatives or serious illness or death in the family.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the ban was outrageous and called this move on the part of the Ukrainian government "obviously discriminatory and unfriendly."
Since last month, pro-federalization rallies have swept across eastern Ukraine, which has a large proportion of Russian speakers.
Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government.
The protestors have urged interim authorities in Kiev to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic's reunification with Russia.
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