Updated at 22:06,23-05-2018

Ukrainian MP Bryhynets is banned from entering Belarus and Union State

Vyachaslaw BUDKEVICH, Naviny.by

Oleksandr Bryhynets, a member of Ukraines Verkhovna Rada (parliament), is on a list of persons who are banned from entering Belarus and the Union State or whose presence in their territory is undesirable, Anton Bychkowski, spokesman for the State Border Committee of Belarus, told BelaPAN.

The 52-year-old member of the Batkivshchyna party was prevented from flying to Moscow through the airport on Wednesday night and sent back to Kyiv in the morning as persona non grata."

Mr. Bryhynets arrived from Kyiv at around 9:00 p.m. together with a group of Ukrainian and Polish lawmakers and human rights defenders. Formed with support from the Ukrainian foreign ministry, the delegation was traveling to Moscow to meet with the lawyers of Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian woman pilot captured by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine last month and currently held in a detention center in Russias Voronezh. The delegation was planning to meet with Ms. Savchenko and attend her trial over the death of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine.

However, border control officers at Minsk National Airport told Mr. Bryhynets that he would not be allowed to go to Moscow because he was on the Belarusian governments entry ban list. They put an Entry Denied stamp at the back of his passport and placed him in a separate room to wait for the next Kyiv-bound plane. Mr. Bryhynets left for the Ukrainian capital city at 8:25 a.m.

According to Mr. Bychkowski, Mr. Bryhynets status became known while he was completing border control procedures. The man was left in the transit area to wait for the next flight to Kyiv and was flown to the Ukrainian capital city at the expense of Belarus national airline Belavia, he said.

Officers treated Bryhynets well and granted his request for a meeting with a representative of the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk, he said. He was also given a meal and allowed to watch TV.

Mr. Bychkowski denied that the Ukrainian lawmaker had been detained and prevented from moving freely within the airports transit area.