LOT Polish Airlines block Russian tennis player from boarding flight

The Polish airline company was accused of “discrimination and Russophobia” by some Russian media outlets

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Igor Szulim
Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia plays against Serena Williams during a first-round match of the French Open in Paris, in 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The Russian tennis player Vitalia Diatchenko was denied permission to board a LOT Polish Airlines flight from Cairo to Warsaw. LOT representatives stated that they acted in accordance with the law and cited regulations put into place after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian tennis player recently competed in Egypt, where she won only one match and was scheduled to play in the Ladies Open de Calvi-Eaux de Zilla tournament in Corsica, but ultimately did not participate due to her travel difficulties.

Diatchenko expressed her frustration on social media, revealing that she had letters of support from the WTA and ITF, and documents confirming that her father was born in Ukraine and works in the United Nations. She also tried to board a Lufthansa flight, but the German airline also denied her entry.

“(I was) stuck for 18 hours in Cairo airport, sleeping on benches, no food available and not allowed to leave the airport! I was treated like a 3rd class citizen and spent a couple of thousand euros,” wrote Diatchenko in a social media entry.

The incident highlights the restrictions that citizens of the Russian Federation face after Russian aggression against Ukraine. These restrictions prevent Russians from entering Polish territory, including air and sea borders, for economic, sports, tourist, or cultural purposes.

LOT representatives stated that they acted in accordance with the law introduced after the war in Ukraine broke out, and there were no shortcomings on their part.

Russian media accused the Polish side of discrimination and Russophobia. Diatchenko’s compatriots are urging her to fight for compensation and damages for what they see as an unjust decision by the Polish carrier.

Vitalia Diatchenko is currently ranked in the top 300 in the world; her highest ranking was 71st in November 2014. Her greatest achievement was reaching the third round of the Wimbledon Grand Slam five years ago. She defeated Maria Sharapova and Sofia Kenin, the later Australian Open champion, on her way to the third round.

tend: 1709098614.0202