Ukrainian citizen Ivan Popivshchy, 28, was not allowed to enter the EU by Estonian border control officers. They used force and threatened him with a “prison sentence”, The Insider media outlet reports, citing volunteers who help Ukrainians escape abroad.
Popivshchy was attempting to cross the border through the Ivangorod-Narva checkpoint between Russia and Estonia. The man had domestic and biometric passports issued by Ukraine as well as a plane ticket to the UK.
“Ivan never lived in Russia and crossed the border with Russia because his family and him live in the temporarily occupied Luhansk region [Svatove]. The only way to get into Europe or Ukraine from there is through Russia,” The Insider notes.
According to the volunteers, Estonian border control agents decided to go through Ivan’s phone and concluded that it seems “somewhat cleaned up.” The Ukrainian explained that he had deleted messages with several people to get out of Russia safely. The Estonian officers then “rudely” told him to sign the entry denial form where his place of residence was specified as Russia.
Photo: The Insider
The media outlet that the reason behind the denial is put down as “lacking documents to cross the border.” After Popivshchy signed the form, the agents told him “to get the hell out of here, this conversation is over for today.” The Ukrainian then requested international asylum. In response, the border control service threatened to “put him in prison for a long time if he is so clever”, “find him even in England”, and “take away his documents”.
When Ivan tried to record the threats, the officers applied physical force and twisted his hands. The Ukrainian was terrified at that point and returned to the Russian border, The Insider continues.
In August, Estonia denied entry to several more Ukrainians who stayed in Russia for some time. The Estonian police and border control department then explained that the country does not grant entry to people who had been “living and working in Russia for a long time and in reality only seek to enter the Schengen Area not as a refugee but for tourist purposes or to visit family and friends.” In this case, the department concluded, they do not travel as refugees.