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9 Aug, 2022 08:25

Historic French site bans all Russians – AFP

Russian passport holders reportedly cannot enter Chateau de Vincennes, which houses a military archive
Historic French site bans all Russians – AFP

The French Defense Ministry has banned Russian nationals from entering the medieval royal residence of Chateau de Vincennes, Agence France Presse (AFP) has learned. The castle east of Paris is the headquarters of the Defense Historical Service, the French ministry’s archive.

The ministry issued an internal directive restricting access for Russians to all military facilities, including the historic site, after Russia attacked Ukraine, AFP reported on Monday, citing a source.

The revelation emerged after the news agency followed up on a story of two Russian women, who were denied entry to the chateau in late July. One of them said the guards checked their passports before telling them they could not enter due to their nationality.

The woman is a journalist and said she left her home country five months ago because of the conflict with Ukraine, the report said.

The news agency’s source in the Defense Ministry said journalists wishing to visit the archive could still apply for special permission.

The AFP report did not specify whether the restriction applies to the entire castle, which is a heritage site and popular tourist attraction, or just to the part which houses the archive. The Defense Historical Service website says visitors of the museum are required to show ID due to the “current international context” and “security measures in force” at the site.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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