Russian choreographer and ballet dancer Andrei Merkuriev and fitness competitor Daria Matveeva were denied entry into Ukraine because of the martial law imposed on November 26. The duo recalled what happened to them after arriving in Ukriane, speaking in Moscow on Friday.
“Nothing seemed off until I presented my passport at passport control. They said to me: ‘stand aside, we will come to you... Еще later’,” said Merkuriev, who was due to perform at a show in Odessa.
“Later, they told me that I was denied entry into the country. They said it was because of the martial law and asked me to understand the situation. Nothing else was explained to me,” the choreographer added.
Matveeva, who flew to Kiev via Minsk, said that upon arrival all passengers with Russian passports were asked to fill in migration cards.
“While we were filling in these cards, Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens were allowed to go. Then all windows were closed. When we filled in these migration cards, we understood that everything was closed. There were no people expect us. We were left with the border officers. He came to us, took our passports and then left,” she noted.
After two rounds of questioning the border officers told Matveeva she was going to fly back to Minsk, offering no explanation. The athlete missed a competition in Kiev because of the decision.
Martial law was introduced in Ukraine on November 26, in the regions of Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Zaporozhie, Lugansk, Donetsk, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov and Vinnitsk, as wells as the territorial waters of the Kerch Strait. It is to last until December 26.
The move came after the incident in the Kerch Strait on November 25, when Russia's Coast Guard detained three Ukrainian vessels after they breached Russia's territorial waters.