Ukraine's Foreign Ministry on Monday criticized Moscow for barring a Ukrainian lawmaker from entering Russia, accusing its neighbor of violating international law, International Herald Tribune reported.

Petro Poroshenko, a close ally of westward-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko, was denied entry to Russia while trying to travel to St. Petersburg earlier this month.

Moscow said that was in response to what it claimed was a Ukrainian policy of blacklisting Russian citizens deemed unwelcome in the ex-Soviet republic.

In a statement released Monday, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said Russia's move was in violation of international law and insisted that Poroshenko had not damaged relations between the two countries — in contrast with several Russian citizens denied entry to Ukraine.

"The approach of revenge in no way corresponds to the environment of mutual respect and constructive cooperation which is being established by the two neighboring countries," the statement said.

Last year, Ukraine barred entry to nationalist Russian lawmaker Konstantin Zatulin, who had participated in anti-NATO protests on the Crimean Peninsula. The State Security Agency said Zatulin's presence had sparked tensions that could threaten Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Also last year, Russian ultra-nationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky, nationalist Russian state television commentator Mikhail Leontyev and Kremlin-connected political strategist Gleb Pavlovsky were denied entry to Ukraine, according to media reports.


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