Kiev denounces Russian plan to open elections to voters in eastern Ukraine



Kiev has condemned Russia’s plan to allow hundreds of thousands of people living in parts of eastern Ukraine ruled by militias to vote in Russian parliamentary elections on Sunday when they are expected to support the party favorite of the Kremlin.

According to Kiev, Russia has distributed more than 600,000 passports in parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions held since 2014 by Moscow-led separatists, amid fighting with government troops that has left more than 14,000 dead. The Kremlin also annexed Crimea seven years ago, after a revolution in Ukraine tipped the country westward.

“I emphasize once again that under international law, Russia’s only status in Crimea and in the regions of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions is that of an occupying state,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro said on Thursday. Kuleba.

“I understand that we cannot cancel the elections and that the Russians will do whatever they see fit there, because they control this territory. But everything has an end, and so I am sure that the Russian occupation will also end … and all the rights violations recorded by the Russian Federation will have to be paid.

Kuleba said Ukraine would respond to Russia’s inclusion of separatist-controlled areas in its election “in the established manner: we will take note of violations and appeal to our partners.”

Russia allows people living in separatist Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” to vote across the border in Russia’s Rostov region, which is also one of seven provinces where voters can vote online .

Bus and trains

Separatist officials in Donetsk said they would provide 825 buses and 12 trains to take people to Rostov, in what Mr Kuleba described as “election carousels, transporting voters to make it look like an expression of the will of the people “.

Most voters in militia-controlled areas are expected to support Russia’s ruling United Russia party, which is closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin but has seen its ratings drop steadily in recent years.

“Why is Putin doing it? Recently declared Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov. “It’s to get 500,000 more votes in the election.”

The West condemned the distribution of passports by Russia to residents of eastern Ukraine, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that “if a Russian citizen living in another country wishes to come to Russia for vote here, he or she has the right to do so. so”.

The European Parliament this week approved a report according to which the EU must “be prepared to refuse recognition of the Russian parliament if the legislative elections of 2021 (…) are conducted in violation of democratic principles and international law”.

The report urged the EU to engage with the Russian people while opposing Mr. Putin’s regime, which it described as a “stagnant authoritarian kleptocracy led by a lifelong president surrounded by a circle of ‘oligarchs’.


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