German analyst held for 10 hours at Ukraine border

27th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A leading Ukraine-based German analyst who recently criticized President Viktor Yanukovych was held for 10 hours at Kiev airport while trying to enter the country, he said Sunday.

Nico Lange, the director of the Kiev office of German think-tank Konrad Adenauer Foundation, landed at Kiev Boryspil airport Saturday afternoon but was not allowed to enter Ukrainian territory, he told AFP by phone.

Only after intervention by the German embassy and long talks with the Ukrainian authorities was Lange was able to leave the airport and go to Kiev at about 1:00 am Sunday (2200 GMT Saturday).

"Now I am at home in Kiev. I was let go in the night," Lange told AFP.

"According to the official version it was misunderstanding," he added. "We will check this issue in Germany and will discuss it together with the embassy."

The spokeswoman of the Ukrainian security service the SBU, Maryna Ostapenko, declined to comment.

Influential news website Ukrainska Pravda wrote that Lange -- who has worked in Kiev for the last three years -- had encountered problems with the Ukrainian authorities due to his criticism of Yanukovych's administration.

In May, Lange published a report entitled: "The first 100 Days after Change of Power in Ukraine: Authoritarian Tendencies and Rapprochement with Russia".

In early June he expressed the doubts about the will of the cabinet to implement economic reform and concerns over the future of democracy in the country, in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

The incident comes amid growing concerns over a return to media censorship under Yanukovych, which has prompted a string of complaints from private Ukrainian television channels.

The presidency has vowed to look into the complaints and insisted it puts no pressure on the press.

But US ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft on Thursday said in a speech there had been "troubling reports of pressure on journalists" and warned there should be no going back to the "old system" of government pressure.

© 2010 AFP

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