Estonia confirms entry ban for Russian journalists

Authorities of Estonia have not allowed a VGTRK film crew to enter the country's territory.

The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board confirmed on Tuesday that Russian journalists of the VGTRK television station were not allowed to enter Estonia.

"It was established during a check of documents at the Narva-1 border crossing point yesterday that three citizens of the Russian Federation wanted to enter Estonia with a tourist visa, which did not meet the true purpose of their trip. In this connection, these persons' visas were found invalid, and they returned to the Russian Federation," Estonian Police and Border Guard Board spokeswoman Viktoria Korpan told Estonian television on May, 3.

"Article 7 of the Schengen Borders Code envisages that the points of departure and arrival of third countries' citizens, as well as the purpose of their stay in the state ought to be established during these persons' check on the border. If it is established that all documents are factually accurate, this person is allowed to enter Estonia," she said.

"But if the person does not have documents confirming the purpose and conditions of his trip, or if it is established during the check that the purpose of his trip does not match the one stated in his visa with which this person wants to cross the border (for instance, a citizen of a third country applied for a tourist visa, but the actual purpose of his trip is work), in this case the visa is found invalid and this person is sent back from the border," she said.

A VGTRK film crew was heading to the village of Vosu to film a video about the participants in the "Bow the Great Victory ships" expedition, which is looking for a submarine, which sank in the Gulf of Finland in 1943, Russian media reported yesterday.

A report was published on the (VGTRK) website on May 2 that the "authorities of Estonia have not allowed a VGTRK film crew to enter the country's territory."

"The journalists were preparing a broadcast about the search team's work, but their passports were confiscated at border control and were returned to them an hour later with their visas annulled. It is symbolic that the incident occurred in the run-up to World Press Freedom Day," according to the report.

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