Ukraine: More stringent border checks for Russians

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Associated Press

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 17 at 11:07 AM

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine is introducing stringent checks for Russian citizens who want to cross the border into Ukraine.

Russia's flagship Aeroflot warned its passengers on Thursday that Ukrainian officials told the airline that Russian men between 16 and 60 are now banned from entering Ukraine except when they are traveling with family or to the funerals of relatives there.

Ukraine says Russian men have been involved in stirring up anti-government unrest among Russian-speakers in its eastern regions.

Ukraine's Border Guard Service would not confirm the Aeroflot report but said in a statement there are "temporary restrictions" mainly concerning "able-bodied men" who cross the border alone or in small groups.

The restrictions will not affect the crews of airplanes, trains or buses that bring people into Ukraine, it said.

"In the light of the anti-terrorist operation underway in this country, we are introducing certain restrictions," Serhiy Astakhov, an aide to the agency's chief, told The Associated Press.

He did not elaborate.

Russia's Foreign Ministry demanded that Ukraine give "an immediate official explanation" of what is happening at the border.

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