Statement by the Foreign Ministry of Russia
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has received an official notification from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on the refusal to accredit citizens of the Russian Federation who, as long-term observers, were supposed to arrive in the country soon to start working as part of the ODIHR monitoring mission for the presidential election in Ukraine.
In principle, such a decision was expected amid the constant statements by Ukrainian high-ranking officials, as well as the actions of the Verkhovna Rada to legislate a ban on Russians taking part in monitoring any elections in Ukraine.
However, there was hope that reason would prevail in Kiev. Our foreign partners pointed out the anti-democratic nature of these steps by the Ukrainian authorities, and the ODIHR senior officials criticised this step as well. Unfortunately, the expectations that Ukraine’s politicians would show some common sense failed to materialise again.
We regard Ukraine’s refusal to accredit Russian observers as a gross violation of international obligations in the sphere of generally accepted electoral procedures. Thus, significant damage has been done to the ODIHR, which positions itself as a keeper of the gold standard of electoral monitoring principles. The Kiev authorities have, in fact, wiped their feet on these standards having shown once again an utter disregard for international law and their own obligations.
Under these circumstances, Russia, to ensure the safety of its representatives in the ODIHR observation mission, has chosen not to send them to Ukraine.
The absence of Russian observers in international monitoring missions, as well as depriving millions of Ukrainian citizens residing in Russia of the opportunity to vote in Russia during the presidential elections in Ukraine, calls into question the transparency and objectivity of the outcome of the forthcoming vote.
We call on our partners, primarily from among the Western mentors of Kiev in matters of democracy, to provide a principled assessment of the Ukrainian authorities’ actions and demand that they return to the international legal field.