Serbia Stays Silent About Ban on Russian Anti-War Activist’s Return

Serbia's Interior Ministry has remained silent about why it banned the return to Serbia of Russian anti-war activist Piotr Nikitin on Thursday.

BIRN asked Ministry about the ban but it did not reply by time of publication, or make any public comment.

Nikitin, who spent a second night at Belgrade Airport, said he will appeal the ban and that, so far, there are no indications that he will be forcibly deported.

"As far as I know, forced deportation is certainly not legally possible without a court decision, and it can only be done in the country from which I came directly, which is Germany," Nikitin told BIRN on Friday. "The risk of illegal deportation to Russia of course exists, but I estimate that it is not great," he added.

Nikitin said he was asked to take a regular flight back to Frankfurt but is refusing to do so. He has lived in Serbia since 2016 and has both Russian and Dutch citizenship.

The Dutch embassy in Serbia confirmed to BIRN that they are "in regular contact" with Nikitin and are "following up" his case.

Nikitin told BIRN that on the night between Wednesday and Thursday, after he landed from Frankfurt - coming back from a vacation - his passport was taken away. Some four hours later he was told to go back to Frankfurt and was given the decision about denied entrance to Serbia. By Friday noon, he had not got his passport back.

Screenshot of Piotr Nikitin video posted on his Facebook account showing him at the Belgrade Airport.

According to the ministry decision, issued at the airport around 4am in the morning, Niktin's entrance was denied because he has "the protective measure of removal, the security measure of expulsion, or ban on entry into the Republic of Serbia in effect".


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