The decision of Ukrainian authorities to create obstacles for Russian nationals wanting to cast ballots during the Sunday presidential election violates international norms and regulations, the secretary of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) told Sputnik on Friday.
“It is a blatant violation of international obligations, international law, and violation of our citizens’ rights,” Maya Grishina said.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Kiev would not allow Russian citizens to visit Russian diplomatic missions on the territory of Ukraine to vote in the Sunday presidential election.
Russia’s presidential election is scheduled for Sunday, and there are eight candidates running this year: Sergey Baburin from the All-People’s Union party, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin, Civil Initiative party candidate Ksenia Sobchak, Communists of Russia party chairman Maxim Suraykin, Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov, co-founder of the Yabloko party Grigory Yavlinsky, and head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Russian authorities have organized four polling stations in diplomatic missions located in Ukraine, namely in Kiev, Kharkiv, Lviv, and Odessa.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry threatened on Friday to prevent Russians from casting ballots in the March 18 presidential elections at the polling stations that were to be opened at the Russian Embassy in Kiev, and at the consulates in Odessa, Lviv and Kharkiv.
“The plans to strip Russians living in Ukraine of their right to vote under an invented pretext are a blatant violation of basic international norms and Ukraine’s obligations under multilateral and bilateral conventions and agreements,” it said.
Ukrainian authorities explained their decision by Russia’s plans to organize the electoral process in Crimea, which Kiev considers an occupied territory. The Black Sea republic left Ukraine for Russia after voting for secession by landslide in 2014. Russia said the vote repaired a historical wrong after the historically Russian region was handed over to Ukraine 60 years ago.