Kiev, Sep 16 (EFE).- Ukraine on Thursday said that Moscow’s efforts to allow Russian-passport holders in the occupied Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, to vote in the upcoming State Duma elections was in breach of international law.
“The only status Russia has in Crimea and certain areas of Donbas, according to international law, is that of the occupying power. Therefore what it does there is a violation of international law,” Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmitro Kuleba told a briefing in Kiev.
“It is not a coincidence that a week ago Russia refused to extend the mandate of two OSCE missions who were monitoring a part of the Russian-Ukrainian border, which Ukraine currently does not control,” Kuleba said.
He was referring to reports that residents of occupied Donbas with Russian passports will be brought by trains and buses to Russia to participate in the legislative vote.
“In the absence of these [OSCE] missions, Russia will be able to conduct ‘electoral carousels’ and to create an impression that people expressed their will.”
Kuleba added that Russian citizens in government-controlled territory of Ukraine will be able to participate in the elections.
“The polling stations at the Russian Federation embassy in Kiev will be open,” he added.
Pro-Russian rebels have controlled swathes of eastern Ukraine, a region known as the Donbas, since 2014, the same year Russia annexed Crimea in response to a pro-European revolution in Kiev.EFE