Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has said it wasn’t privy to information that Swedish recording artist Alban Nwapa was banned from entering Ukraine after he performed in Russian-annexed Crimea.
“The Security Service of Ukraine does not have information about the ban on entry to Ukraine specified in the inquiry regarding said foreign citizen,” the SBU told local news site Ukrayinska Pravda regarding Nwapa, whose stage name is Dr. Alban.
In December, Nwapa on his Instagram account thanked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for allegedly interceding in having the authorities allow him entry to Ukraine.
The Eurodance and hip-hop artist had previously given a performance in Crimea and allegedly broke Ukrainian law by not receiving permission through the proper channels.
“I was forbidden to enter Ukraine because of my previous show on the disputed island of Crimea. With the intervention of the president, I was able to get to Ukraine,” Nwapa initially said.
He later altered the post on December 16 acknowledging the entry ban but omitted the reference to Zelenskiy allegedly having helped him.
“Meeting Ukrainian President…Zelensky,” Nwapa said. “I was banned entering Ukraine because of my previous show in the Crimea peninsula…Ukrainians don’t like it…. It’s just not easy or possible for me and many people to know that entering Crimea then you are breaking Ukrainian law. Many foreigners won’t know this.”
Russia seized Crimea in 2014 after which Kyiv started banning people entry into the country if they travel to the peninsula illegally — namely by not entering through Ukrainian territory or receiving permission to enter from a different port entry.
While in Kyiv, Nwapa performed for a New Year’s show with the comedy troupe that Zelenskiy led before becoming president.
The head of Ukraine’s Border Service, Serhiy Deyneko, on January 5 said Nwapa entered Ukraine legally and that Zelenskiy didn’t intervene in the matter.