Kiev’s decision to prohibit Russian observers as part of an OSCE mission from monitoring the Ukrainian presidential elections undermines the OSCE principles, head of the Russian delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said on Thursday during a winter meeting of the Assembly’s Standing Committee.
“We believe that the decision to deny deputies elected in Russia access to monitor the elections in Ukraine contradicts the OSCE’s practice, and along with the hastily devised statutory ban blocking Russian observers from entering Ukraine, this violates the OSCE principles.
Tolstoy stressed that OSCE members had their differences and even disputes before, but “they never resulted in observers being banned from monitoring elections.”
“I’d like to point out that… I believe this is a violation of the basic principles of this organization,” Tolstoy noted.
Earlier, Ukraine’s Central Election Commission rejected applications sent by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to accredit two long-term observers from Russia as part of this mission.
On February 7, the Verkhovnaya Rada passed a bill that stipulates: “a person who is a citizen or a subject of a state that is declared an aggressor or occupying state by the Ukrainian Parliament” as well as “a person who is nominated [to be an observer] by a state that is declared an aggressor or occupying state by the Ukrainian Parliament” cannot monitor Ukraine’s presidential, parliamentary or local elections.