The Russian pop star Philipp Kirkorov will not be allowed to enter Lithuania for five years, as a Vilnius court rejects his appeal against the decision.
On Monday, Vilnius Regional Administrative Court said Lithuania's Migration Department was justified in designating Kirkorov a persona non grata upon the Foreign Ministry's request.
As a supporter of the Russian government and a vehicle of Moscow's ‘soft power’, Kirkorov represents a threat to Lithuania's national security and therefore should not be allowed to perform in the country, the Foreign Ministry had said.
The Migration Department imposed the five-year entry ban on the singer at the Foreign Ministry's request on January 19.
Kirkorov appealed the decision, but the court said it was justified.
“The appeal offers no evidence that would negate the legality of this finding. The court has also pointed out that the applicant’s argument that the sanction is disproportionate and discriminatory is legally unfounded. An appeal against this decision can be lodged with the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania within 14 days,” the court said on Monday.
Among its arguments, the Foreign Ministry noted that Kirkorov regularly performed in the Crimean Peninsula which was illegally anexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.
“He has been blacklisted in Ukraine and denied entry to this country due to these actions. In the ministry’s view, Kirkorov’s visits to Lithuania may pose a threat to the security of the Republic of Lithuania,” the court said in the statement.