Russian envoy urges OSCE to react to Kiev’s provocations ahead of election

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VIENNA, February 8. /TASS/. Russia urges the institutions and leadership of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to respond to provocations, made by the Ukrainian government ahead of the presidential elections in the country, Russia’s envoy to the organization has said.

“We strongly urge the Slovak presidency of the OSCE, the leadership of ODIHR [OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights] and all member states to react to provocative statements and actions by the Ukrainian government, which constitute a blatant violation of international commitments and may entail serious damage to the OSCE reputation in general,” Alexander Lukashevich told the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

He said Kiev’s decision to bar Russian observers from monitoring the polls as part of the ODIHR mission is aimed at disrupting the international monitoring.

“Quite recently, the Ukrainian authorities, including President Pyotr Poroshenko and Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin announced their plans to prohibit the accreditation of international observers from Russia, even as part of the ODIHR mission. Kiev’s statements of this kind are a blatant disregard of the basic OSCE commitments in the electoral sphere and, in fact, are intended to sabotage the international monitoring of the March 31 election,” he said.

Presidential elections In Ukraine are scheduled are scheduled on March 31. On December 31, 2018, the first day of the presidential campaign, Ukraine’s Central Election Commission (CEC) closed all the five polling stations in Russia, namely in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. It said that Ukrainian nationals who are staying in Russia would be able to cast their votes at polling stations in neighboring Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Finland.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament passed a law prohibiting citizens of what it called “an aggressor or an occupying state” to be observers at presidential, parliamentary and local elections. The ban is also applicable to “people nominated by a country that the Verkhovna Rada has designated as an aggressor or an occupying state.”

Head of the OSCE ODIHR Election Observation Mission Peter Tejler said earlier that Ukraine’s approach to Russian observers runs counter to the OSCE principles. US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, in turn, emphasized the need to allow Russian observers to monitor the Ukrainian presidential election.

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