Ukrainian AFP photographer denied Russia entry

A man looks at planes at the international airport outside Minsk on April 17, 2010 (AFP Photo/Viktor Drachev)

Moscow (AFP) - An AFP photographer based in Ukraine on Thursday was stopped from travelling to Russia as he was set to board a Moscow flight from the airport of Minsk, Belarus.

Sergei Supinsky, 60, a veteran, award-winning photographer who has been based in the Kiev bureau for AFP for 13 years, was approached by a man in civilian dress in the boarding area, who verified his identity and told him he was banned from entering Russia.

The man did not identify himself and gave no reason for this ban.

Contacted by AFP, Russian authorities could not immediately clarify the situation. AFP headquarters in Paris has sent a letter to the Russian foreign ministry asking for an explanation.

Direct air travel has been suspended between Ukraine and Russia since October 2015, after Kiev banned Russian airlines from flying into the country -- part of its sanctions against its neighbour over Moscow's support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.