Forty-three international observers from 20 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Ukraine, arrived in Crimea to monitor the Russian presidential election, which is held on the Black Sea Peninsula for the first time, the regional election commission’s chairman said.

“The election in Crimea will be monitored by 43 international observers from 20 countries, including Austria, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Malaysia, Serbia, the United States, Ukraine, France, Finland and Sweden,” Mikhail Malyshev told reporters.

Nearly 3,600 public observers will also monitor the election, he said. Russian and foreign journalists, including from France and Sweden, will cover the polls.

More than 1,200 ballot stations opened at 8.00 a.m. Moscow Time (05.00 a.m. GMT) in Crimea where some 1.5 million citizens are eligible to vote.