UPDATED: Ukraine Bans Male Russian Citizens
30 November, 2018

Update: On December 1, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine clarified that "persons who have a diplomatic status in Ukraine, are vehicle service attendants and those who arrive in Ukraine with documents confirming permanent or temporary residence in the territory of Ukraine, can back up their travel purpose, or their trip has a humanitarian nature, which includes death or serious illness of close relatives, health treatment, studies, invitation to participate in certain projects, competitions and so on, will be permitted to cross the border. However, these will only apply if the person has not been previously refused entry to Ukraine."

Ukraine has banned male Russian citizens aged between 16 and 60 from entering the country. This comes after the government imposed martial law in 10 regions of the country in response to Russia’s attack on Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait.  However, there are still humanitarian grounds on which Russian citizens can enter.

Hromadske explains the details of the ban according to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

Despite the ban, which has been imposed as part of martial law, male Russian citizens will be able to enter Ukraine:

  • To attend a funeral

  • To visit a close relative who is ill

  • If they have diplomatic status

  • If they have documents which allow them to live in Ukraine.

The Border Guard Service gave an ambiguous response as to whether these were the only conditions under which Russians would be allowed into Ukraine.

“In each individual case, all decisions will be made at the checkpoints. All these (decisions on whether to allow someone in – ed.) could be on an individual basis,” spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service Andriy Demchenko stated.

When asked if border guards can make these decisions by themselves, seeing as the list of humanitarian conditions is vague, Demchenko said that “all border guards have senior leaders, who are able to make the decision on letting a citizen in.”

The Border Guard Service also explained the procedure for stricter checks at the border for entering Ukraine. From now on, border guards will conduct interviews with people in order to single out those who may be entering Ukraine to destabilize the situation. They will also carry out additional checks on people’s documentation, for example, to see if they have visited annexed Crimea or occupied Donbas, as well as whether or not they have visited Ukraine before or violated Ukrainian law in the past. All available databases, especially the Interpol database, will also be checked at the border when entering.

Those who don’t have a clear reason for entering Ukraine will also be denied entry.

Demchenko stressed the fact that this ban does not only affect Russians, but any foreigner who could pose a threat. However, Russians will be given “more attention,” Demchenko adds.

On November 29, 75 Russian citizens were denied entry to Ukraine. Most of them, according to Demchenko, were unable to confirm the purpose of their visit, and others rest had invalid documents.

Those who were denied entry due to a previous visit to annexed Crimea or occupied Donbas, and had not travelled there via Ukrainian checkpoints, were handed documents stating they had not be allowed entry and were banned from entering Ukraine.  

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has stated that Russia is not planning on taking similar action against Ukraine.

“If someone was to try and mirror what is now going on in Kyiv, this could lead to some sort of insanity, and if we’re talking on a national scale, this could simply lead to collapse,” Zakharova stated at a briefing on November 30.