Polish TV reporter hindered at Belarusian airport without explanations

A Polish television journalist said Tuesday she has been detained for several hours at Belarus' main airport and denied entry into the country, in the latest incident to mar relations between the two Eastern European neighbors. Agnieszka Romaszewska, an accredited reporter with TVP-1, told The Associated Press by telephone that uniformed guards pulled her aside around 2 p.m. (1100 GMT) as she tried to pass through immigration control at the Minsk-2 airport. Romaszewska, who has worked in Minsk for the past six months, said authorities also refused to allow her to fly back to Warsaw and refused to explain the reasoning for the detention. Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ruslan Yesin confirmed that Romaszewska had been denied re-entry to the country. "We are looking at the actions of this journalist as a provocation of unfriendly character," Yesin said.

It was not clear late Tuesday whether Romaszewska had been released. The incident is the latest to mar tense relations between the neighboring countries. On Sunday, Belarusian border guards refused entry to an aide to the Polish prime minister. Polish authorities accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of cracking down on the freedoms of some 500,000 ethnic Poles in Belarus.

Lukashenko has accused Poland, with the backing of the European Union and the United States, of encouraging Belarus' Poles to help oust him. In Warsaw, Poland's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Belarus' ambassador to Poland was summoned Tuesday to explain Minsk's refusing entry to the Polish prime minister's aide.

Michal Dworczyk, who advises Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz on the situation of ethnic Poles abroad, said he was turned away Sunday at the Kuznica Bialastocka border crossing some 200 kilometers (125 miles) northeast of Warsaw. The Ministry said the incident was "unacceptable in relations between European countries" and expressed "disapproval" with the Belarusian decision, reports the AP. N.U.

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