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World Condemns Russia’s Elections in Occupied Territories of Ukraine

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The international community criticised the Russian Federation for holding the State Duma elections in the occupied Crimea and involving residents of the occupied territories of Donbas in the voting.

The European Union and individual European countries condemned the Kremlin’s actions and called the elections undemocratic.

In particular, this is underscored in the statement by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on behalf of the entire EU. The European Union does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and the so-called elections held in the occupied Crimean peninsula.

The EU stressed that Russia’s decision to involve residents of the non-government-controlled territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine in its elections runs counter to the spirit and objectives of the Minsk agreements.

The European Union regretted that Russia’s decision to severely restrict the size and format of an international OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission prevented its deployment. In addition, independent and reliable sources reported serious violations, including increased crackdown on opposition politicians, civil society organisations, and independent media outlets.

The UK said in a brief statement that the Russian election was “a serious step back for democratic freedoms in Russia” and “the measures taken by the Russian authorities to marginalise civil society, silence independent media and exclude genuine opposition candidates from participating in the elections undermine political plurality and are at odds with the international commitments that Russia has signed up to.”

“We condemn the holding of these elections in Ukraine’s sovereign territory and reiterate that Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 was illegal and illegitimate and remains so to this day,” the British Foreign Office said.

At the same time, the United States emphasised that the elections in Russia “took place under conditions not conducive to free and fair proceedings” as laws on “extremist organisationsm” “foreign agents,” and “undesirable organisations” severely restricted political pluralism and Russian government’s restrictions prevented the OSCE from observing the elections.

“Furthermore, we do not recognise holding elections for the Russian Duma on sovereign Ukrainian territory and reaffirm our unwavering support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Turkey also declared it did not recognise the results of the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation, which took place in the occupied Crimea from 17-19 September.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey stressed that the country maintained its support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and did not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea.

“Accordingly, the results, in so far as they relate to Crimea, of the Russian State Duma elections, held on 17-19 September 2021 also in Crimea, do not have legal validity for Turkey,” said Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tanju Bilgiç.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol opened a criminal investigation into the organisation and conduct of elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation in the territory of the occupied peninsula.

According to its press service, the citizens of Ukraine who “participate in the organisation of illegal elections, provide assistance to a foreign state in carrying out subversive activities against Ukraine” and will be prosecuted.

In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office announced the opening of criminal proceedings against foreign nationals who acted as so-called “international observers” and “experts” during the Russian elections in the occupied Crimea.

Bohdan Marusyak

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