The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has said that the service has not drafted a list of foreigners who were temporarily banned from entering Ukraine and that the decision on each of them was taken individually.
"The Security Service of Ukraine states that in November-December this year, in accordance with paragraph 1, Article 13 of the law of Ukraine on the legal status of foreigners, in the interests of ensuring Ukraine's national security, it made the decision to temporarily ban a number of foreign nationals from entering Ukraine. The decision on each individual was made individually, not under the so-called 'list' reported by the media," the SBU's press centre reported on Wednesday. The press centre added that the decision to ban foreign nationals and stateless persons from entering Ukraine is one of the tools of ensuring the state's sovereignty, constitutional order, territorial integrity, as well as its economic, scientific, technological and defense potential. "Such decisions were made in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine, in particular, the laws of Ukraine on the legal status of foreigners and stateless persons and on the peculiarities of Ukraine's national security," reads the statement. However, the report does not specify who exactly was temporarily denied entry to Ukraine. Earlier reports, citing the Kommersant Ukraine newspaper, said that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the Security Service of Ukraine had satisfied an inquiry of Party of Regions MP Oleh Tsariov to deny entry into Ukraine to 36 people, including former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, 29 other citizens of Georgia, five U.S. citizens and a citizen of Serbia, the Kommersant Ukraine newspaper reported on Tuesday. Tsariov told the newspaper that they are suspected of "consulting with the opposition to destabilize the situation in the country." "The more frequent visits by foreign political consultants and specialists in protest activity, whose activity poses a threat to national security, cause quite reasonable fears," he wrote in the inquiry, to which he filed a list of "persons who, as part of the advisory work of the opposition," get a chance to realize "the political interests of other countries." The list includes a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, John Hopkins University, Taras Kuzio, a member of the expert council of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on European Integration, Andreas Umland, as well as Brian Fink, Myron Wasylyk, and Alec Ross (all from the United States). Tsariov described Ross as "the world's best specialist in organizing revolutions through social networks." Another person on the list is Serbian citizen Marko Ivkovic, who "with a team of Serbs organized a revolution against Slobodan Milosevic" and promoted a similar scenario in Ukraine. Tsariov filed a respective inquiry to SBU Chief Oleksandr Yakymenko and Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara on December 8. He said that "the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine, street activity and the seizure of buildings are planned in nature" and that "the organization of such campaigns requires the participation of concerned specialists." Three persons included in Tsariov's request have already failed to enter Ukraine, the newspaper reported citing Georgian Ambassador in Kyiv Giorgi Zakarashvili. "We are currently working with the Foreign Ministry and trying to find out how true the list of Deputy Tsariov is and how much people on this list match the criteria declared," the diplomat said. When asked what steps Georgia could take in response regarding Ukraine, Zakarashvili said: "Ukraine is a friendly country for us and we are holding relevant work - we are trying to specify the information. I hope that we will resolve all issues in a constructive way." Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said on December 24 that decisions on barring entry to Ukraine for foreign citizens are made not by the Foreign Ministry but by other competent agencies, such as the Security Service, the Interior Ministry, the State Border Service, and the State Migration Service. He said Ukrainian law clearly stipulates which agencies can make such decisions proceeding from interests of Ukraine's national security, law and order, and that the Foreign Ministry is not among them.