Conflicts & War

Ukraine blasts ‘sham’ local elections in Russian-occupied regions

Kyiv/Moscow, Sep 8 (EFE).- Ukraine condemned polls taking place in Moscow-occupied regions on Friday as Russia holds local and regional elections across the country.

The polls are being held in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine, which were illegally annexed by Russia almost a year ago, as well as in Crimea, which was occupied by Russia in 2014.

Although polling stations have already opened in Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine, voting in municipal elections across the Russian Federation will take place on Sunday.

“Russia’s sham elections in the temporarily occupied territories are null and void,” a statement from Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry read, adding that the polls “brutally violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Ukrainian legislation as well as norms and principles of the international law.”

Ukraine’s foreign ministry called on its international partners to condemn the elections and not to recognize the results.

Kyiv also announced fresh sanctions against those involved in the organization of the elections and called for these individuals to be brought to justice.

The liberal Russian United Democratic Party Yabloko, the only legal opposition in Russia, did not take part in the local ballot in Kremlin-occupied areas.

“We have not participated. We already told the authorities at the time not to recognize the results of the referendums in those regions,” a spokesman for Yabloko told Efe.

Known for its pacifist stance since the First Chechen War (1994-96), Yabloko never recognized the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014.

“We have always pushed for the signing of a ceasefire agreement and the exchange of all prisoners of war, among other things,” he said.

Yabloko’s election campaign in this year’s municipal elections is “For peace and freedom”.

“It’s not so much about fighting for mandates as about promoting our ideas of peace and freedom. In Yekaterinburg — the capital of the Urals — we have even managed to put up a poster with that slogan,” he stressed. EFE


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