Ukrainian journalist and blogger Volodymyr Zolkin has said he was refused to enter Georgia without any explanations despite having all the necessary travel documents for border-crossing. Zolkin was deported back to Kyiv with the same plane he arrived in Tbilisi International Airport on November 18.
“Georgian authorities are blocking access to foreign media to cover the current situation in their country, and this is the only reason I am not allowed,” the journalist argued.
Zolkin flew to Tbilisi together with Mamuka Mamulashvili, a commander of the Georgian Legion – a paramilitary group of ethnic Georgians – fighting on the Kyiv side in the Donbas war. Mamulashvili told TV Pirveli in Tbilisi Airport that he returned to Georgia in solidarity with jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and to participate in the protests.
Media Advocacy Coalition, a platform uniting several Georgian CSOs, assessed the authorities’ step to bar the Ukrainian journalist as “alarming.” The Coalition has called on the Georgian Government to respect the freedom of movement of journalists and to allow Ukrainian journalists perform their duties on the territory of Georgia.
The Ministry of Interior has yet to comment on the matter.
Earlier in October, another Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon was also barred from the country.