One journalist, three pen names banned from Ukraine

The latest list of persons barred from entry in Ukraine, released on Wednesday by the administration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, includes a former Latvian MP now working as a reporter, along with three other journalists - or rather their pen names - from Latvia's Vesti Segodnya Russian-language daily.

The former Latvian MP included in the sanctions list is Nikolajs Kabanovs. He has been repeatedly elected to the Latvian parliament in the past and now serves as an assistant to Ivans Ribakovs, also an MP of the Harmony faction. Kabanovs works as a journalist at Vesti Segodnya.

The other journalists from Latvia blacklisted in Ukraine for the same reasons include Vladimirs Bucelnikovs, Eduards Eldarovs and Erika Rugalska.

One may wonder how the sanctions will be enforced, as at least one of the three other names listed - Eduards Eldarovs - is a widely known pen name, while Vladimirs Bucelnikovs and Erika Rugalska - were said to be 'unknown', presumably pseudonymous, by a source well-versed in Latvia's newswriting scene.

Andrey Babin and Marianna Tarasenko, who work in Estonia's Russian-language paper Den za Dnem, are also included in the blacklist.

On Wednesday, Poroshenko expanded Ukraine's sanctions against individuals and legal entities from Russia and several other countries over the annexation of Crimea and pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine's Donbas region.

In all, 388 individuals and 105 legal entities have been added to the sanctions list, according to the decree issued by the Ukrainian president.

The sanctioned persons include Russian ministers, military officials, journalists, judges, separatists from Crimea and Donbas, airlines and media, among others.

The new blacklist was met with international outrage as it included three journalists from the BBC.

Later on Thursday, Yuri Stec, the Minister of Information Policy announced that he aims to have the journalists that uphold the standards of the profession excluded from the blacklist, reported LSM's Russian-language sister site later on Thursday.

"The list of media representatives that have been hit by the sanctions is ambiguous and should be changed. Sanctions against journalists in name only, like the propagandist Kiselev, should and will be implemented. But as for the journalists who uphold the standards of their profession, - they won't be found in the list. This is my official position," said Stec on his Facebook page.

He added that he has already discussed the matter with the management of the Ukraine Safety Service and representatives of the National Security and Defence Council, which is reponsible for the initiative. Stec promised to voice his suggestions in the next meeting of the council.

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