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



Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (L) and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari address a joint press conference in Islamabad on July 20, 2023. — AFP
  • Journalist was expelled after Kyiv’s requests for no Russian journalist.
  • Reporter said he would inform Russian embassy about expulsion.
  • Russia terms restriction on journalist “unacceptable”.

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

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

Before the joint press conference on Thursday, Kyiv had allegedly requested that no Russian journalists be present at the occasion.

However, unknowingly, one Russian reporter was present during the presser and was asked to leave the premises by the authorities.

While leaving, the reporter recorded a silent protest and said that he would take the matter with his embassy in Islamabad, according to a Daily Jang report.

Reacting to the development, the Russian Embassy in Islamabad sought an explanation from the Foreign Office, saying restriction on journalist’s right to access information is unacceptable.

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

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

“They agreed on the importance of regular dialogue and engagement and decided to hold meetings of various institutional mechanisms in due course. It was also agreed to deepen cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts.”

Bilawal shared Pakistan’s concern at the prevailing situation in Ukraine and offered condolences on the loss of precious lives and immense human suffering.

He expressed the hope that peace would prevail so that the people of Ukraine and Russia would enjoy peace dividends.

He emphasised the importance of engagement and dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes, and Pakistan’s readiness to support peace initiatives that can bring about peace.

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

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba also denied media reports claiming that Pakistan was supplying arms to Kyiv amid its ongoing conflict with Russia.

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