Moldova bans Russian journalists, Crimea documentary

AP News
Posted: Mar 19, 2015 10:23 AM

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Two Russian journalists planning to travel to Moldova to present a documentary on Crimea have been banned from the country for five years, authorities said Thursday.

It was the latest move by Moldova authorities to limit the presence of Russians with links to the government in the former Soviet republic.

The ban relates to Dmitry Kiselev, the head of Russia's main state news agency, and Andrei Kondrashov, who made the documentary "Crimea. The road home," Interior Ministry spokeswoman Alina Merlici said.

They are "on a list of foreign residents whose access is banned in Moldova," she said, adding the decision had been made by the Bureau for Migration and Asylum.

Late Wednesday, airport authorities also banned a Russian television crew from entering Moldova.

They were traveling to Moldova to cover elections this weekend in the semi-autonomous region of Gagauzia, a region where most voters disapprove of Moldova's European aspirations and want closer links to Russia.

The Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service told the head of the Russian Novosti-Moldova agency, who was organizing the viewing of the Crimea documentary, that the film wasn't welcome in Moldova.

President Nicolae Timofti said in a television interview this week that he was concerned about what he called "threats to regional security generated by the Kremlin," and called on the foreign minister to ban Russian lawmakers except for those on official visits.

He was referring to a visit by three Russian lawmakers who openly supported a pro-Russian candidate in Gagauzia.

Russia opposes Moldova, which neighbors Ukraine and Romania, is seeking closer ties with the European Union and the government is concerned about attempts by Moscow to generate instability.

Moldova recently approved a pro-European coalition government that relies on the support of the communists who favor a slow approach to reforms.