“The EU does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and therefore does not recognise the so-called elections held in the occupied Crimean peninsula. The Russian Federation’s decision to involve residents of the non-government controlled territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine in the State Duma, regional and local elections runs counter to the spirit and objectives of the Minsk agreements. The EU remains unwavering in its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” reads the Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the State Duma, regional and local elections, Ukrinform reports.
As noted, the European Union regrets that Russia’s decision to severely restrict the size and format of an international OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission prevented its deployment.
At the same time, the EU took note of independent and reliable sources reporting serious violations. In particular, in the run-up to the elections, there was an increased crackdown on opposition politicians, civil society organizations and independent media outlets, as well as journalists. This resulted in the limitation of the choice for Russian voters and their ability to get full and accurate information about candidates.
“The EU reiterates its deep concerns over the continuous pattern of shrinking space for the opposition, civil society and independent voices across Russia. The EU calls on Russia’s leadership to reverse these negative developments. The Russian Federation should abide by the commitments it has assumed within the framework of the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe in terms of protection of human rights and democratic values,” reads the statement.
As reported, voting in the elections for Russian State Duma and local government bodies took place on September 17-19. Virtually all potential candidates from the "non-systemic" opposition were removed from the election process, and repression and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society activists were launched under the slogans of the Russian laws on “foreign agents” and “undesirable organizations”.
On September 15, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the EU to be ready not to recognize Russia's parliament and to consider excluding Russia from the PACE if the 2021 parliamentary elections in Russia are recognized as fraudulent and having been conducted in violation of democratic principles and international law.
On September 17, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemned the illegal organization and conduct of elections by Russia in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea. In addition, Ukraine condemned the forced voting of Ukrainian citizens who had been illegally issued Russian passports in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.