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EU condemns Russia's illegal election in occupied Ukraine, organizers to 'face consequences'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 18, 2024 3:51 PM 1 min read
A man registers to vote in Russia's presidential election at a polling station in occupied Donetsk, Russian occupied part of Ukraine, on March 16, 2024. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)
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The results of Russia's election in occupied territories of Ukraine are "null and void," and the election organizers "will face consequences of these illegal actions," Josep Borrell, the European Union's top diplomat, said in a statement on behalf of EU member states on March 18.

Russia conducted a pseudo-democratic presidential election on March 15-17 that granted Vladimir Putin, who has been in power since 1999, six more years in office.

The Russian authorities organized the election not only in Russia, but also in regions of Ukraine under Russian occupation, namely parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, as well as Crimea, in violation of international law.

The EU "does not and never will recognize either the holding of these so-called elections," Borrell said. The U.S., U.S., and Canada also denounced Russia for holding the illegal vote.

Russian voters were denied "a real choice" in the presidential elections, which took place in a "highly restricted environment," exacerbated "by Russia's illegal war of aggression against Ukraine," Borrell said.

"The shocking death of opposition politician Alexei Navalny in the run-up to the elections is yet another sign of the accelerating and systematic repression," Borrell said.

The EU also "regrets" Russia's decision not to invite OSCE election observers, which goes against Russia's commitments to the OSCE and "has denied Russia's voters and institutions an impartial and independent assessment of these elections."

According to Borrell, the EU "will continue to support the important work of Russian civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and independent media."

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