Russia seeks explanation from Pakistan after journalist’s expulsion from Bilawal-Kuleba press conference

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (left) and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari address a joint press conference in Islamabad, July 20, 2023.  - AFP
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (left) and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari address a joint press conference in Islamabad, July 20, 2023. – AFP
  • The journalist was expelled after Kiev requested that there be no Russian journalists.
  • The reporter said he would inform the Russian embassy about the expulsions.
  • Russia described the ban on the journalist as “unacceptable”.

Islamabad: After a Russian journalist was expelled from a joint press conference held by Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Moscow raised concerns, demanding an explanation from Islamabad.

Kuleba’s visit is the first official visit by a Ukrainian foreign minister to Pakistan since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993.

Ahead of the joint press conference on Thursday, Kiev reportedly requested that no Russian journalists be present for the occasion.

However, unknowingly, a Russian reporter was present during the press conference and the officers asked him to leave the premises.

While leaving, the reporter lodged a silent protest and said he would take up the matter with his embassy in Islamabad, Daily Jung reported.

Reacting to the development, the Russian Embassy in Islamabad sought clarification from the Foreign Office, saying restrictions on journalists’ right to access information were unacceptable.

On Thursday, Kuleba met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and held in-depth talks with FM Bilawal, covering a whole range of regional and global issues of mutual concern in bilateral ties, including the security situation in South Asia and the Eurasian region.

The FO said on Friday that the two foreign ministers agreed to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, investment, higher education, agriculture, defense and information technology for the mutual benefit of both countries.

“They agreed on the importance of regular interaction and engagement and decided to hold meetings of various institutional mechanisms at appropriate times. It was also agreed to deepen cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts.

Bilawal shared Pakistan’s concern over the current situation in Ukraine and expressed condolences over the loss of precious lives and immense human suffering.

He hoped that peace would prevail so that the people of Ukraine and Russia could enjoy the benefits of peace.

They stressed the importance of dialogue and negotiation and peaceful resolution of disputes and Pakistan’s readiness to support peace initiatives that bring peace.

He also expressed Pakistan’s support for the restoration of the Black Sea Initiative on the basis of dialogue and consultation.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Kuleba also denied media reports that claimed Pakistan was supplying arms to Kiev amid its ongoing conflict with Russia.

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