Ukraine bans Berlusconi over Crimea visit

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi are longstanding friends. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/Pool/AFP
15:25 CEST+02:00
Ukraine’s National Security Council has banned Silvio Berlusconi from entering the country for three years following his brief visit to Crimea last week.

Berlusconi met Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine last year, on Friday.

Putin and the Forza Italia leader, who the Russian strongman counts among his close friends, visited an Italian war cemetery near the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

In a statement to Russia’s Interfax news agency, Ukraine’s National Security Council said the ban took effect on September 14th, from which point “Italian citizen Silvio Berlusconi was banned from entering the territory of Ukraine for a period of three years to ensure the security of our state."

Kiev was reportedly unaware of Berlusconi’s trip to Crimea, and argued that it broke the norms on entry to “temporarily occupied territory” and that it “contradicted EU policy”.

Berlusconi was the first former European premier to set foot in Crimea since its annexation in March last year.

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