Russian journalists who crashed opposition forum expelled from Lithuania

Rossiya journalists waited for forum participants outside hotel in Vilnius
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

“Pavel Zaburin and his crew have been included into the personae non gratae list due to threats to national security,” the department’s spokesman Vytautas Makauskas confirmed to BNS on Wednesday night.

In all, four people were blacklisted, he said.

Lithuanian officials specified on Thursday that three journalists had been sent out of the country while one more was still to be located.

“The three persons took a flight to Moscow at about 1 AM this morning. They were ordered by the Vilnius police migration board to leave Lithuania,” Giedrius Misutis, spokesman for the State Border Guard Service, told BNS on Thursday.

Speaking on the the news programme of Rossiya, a Kremlin-controlled channel, Zaburin said on Wednesday night that he would be put on a plane to Moscow.

Journalists from the Russian state-run television channel Rossiya attempted to trick their way into a forum attended by Russian opposition figures and intellectuals in Trakai on Tuesday night, but were stopped and asked to leave. On Wednesday, they waited to interview some forum participants outside their hotel in Vilnius.

‘Rudimentary hooliganism’

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius later said that the Rossiya journalists acted like “hooligans” and “terrorized” participants of the forum.

“What I saw was rudimentary hooliganism and provocative actions,” the minister told Vilnius journalists on Thursday.

Linkevičius said that reporters from other Russian media outlets, including the First Baltic Channel and Novaya Gazeta, applied for and were given proper accreditation for the event and constituted no problems.

“If their objective was to cover the event, they should have sought their goal in a proper manner. However, they probably had other goals and I can guess and assume they wanted to make up stories themselves and cover their stories rather than what was actually happening,” said the minister.

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