- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine has defended its decision to deny entry to an Austrian journalist, claiming that Austria has been too friendly to Russia.

Austria has strongly protested Ukraine’s move to bar Christian Wehrschuetz, the bureau chief for the Austrian national broadcaster ORF, as a “threat to national security.” It criticized the ban as an “unacceptable act of censorship.”

Ukrainian officials have made conflicting statements on the issue. Ukraine’s security agency initially said the reporter was barred for his own safety after facing threats from ultranationalists.

But on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Kateryna Zelenko declared that the journalist was denied entry for “disrespect for Ukrainian law.” She also charged that Austria maintains exceedingly warm ties with Russia, adding that “cozying up to the aggressor doesn’t fit with Austria’s claim of neutrality.”

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