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Ukrainian presidential election, if held at gunpoint, will escalate the crisis - experts

May 06, 2014, 17:33 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, May 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Although the current situation in southeastern Ukraine looks pretty much like martial law, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared Ukraine is ready to go ahead with the presidential election scheduled for May 25.

“We are considering no initiatives to postpone the election scheduled for May 25,” the ministry’s spokesperson said on Monday. “Any attempts to frustrate the election or any calls to put them off are solely an attempt to hamper stabilization of the domestic situation in Ukraine.” The representative added that as of May 5, the Central Election Committee of Ukraine had registered 543 observers from international organizations and from several countries.

This statement can be considered as a response to the pending request of Russian Public Chamber to the United Nations and the Council of Europe for a postponement of the presidential election in Ukraine until the situation in the unrest-stricken southeast and the port city of Odessa calms down.

“Given the unwinding spiral of the criminal confrontation of the government with its own people in the country’s southeast, we are sincerely puzzled about what sort of election they are talking about in Kiev, the European capitals and Washington. Obviously, amid the military crackdown, punitive operations and massacres election preparations look absurd, to say the least,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“Any elections in a situation where the country is plunged into bloodshed and the authorities are unable to guarantee security to their own people, are doomed to falsifications and in practice will only provoke further escalation of the conflict,” believes the First Deputy Secretary of the Civic Chamber, Vladislav Grib.

Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin had earlier described the new law on the presidential election in Ukraine as illegitimate, because “under the new legislation a presidential election is considered to have taken place even in the event of non-participation of the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian population.”

“The Ukrainian society is gravely ill, its considerable share is infected with radical nationalism. The army is fighting against the people who are at odds with the policy pursued in Kiev,” Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Federation Council Andrei Klimov told ITAR-TASS, adding the presidential election “will be held not even at the point of a gun but under the threat of rockets and armored vehicles being put to use any minute”.

“There is no freedom of speech in Ukraine - the press is only briefing the people on the official government’s position. Candidates have no chance to carry out their campaigns properly,” he continued. “The candidates opposing the policy of the Kiev government are beaten and prevented from moving around the country freely. Essential conditions necessary for an election to be held are not provided in Ukraine.”

He added that “543 registered observers is a trifling amount” compared to a much larger number of observers at the March 16 referendum on the future of the Crimean peninsula. Besides, Klimov believes, the observers have certainly been instructed by the US Department of State to shut their eyes to any violations during the election in Ukraine.

“As for the German foreign minister’s proposal to convene a Geneva-2 conference, there could be a third and fourth such conference. But what is the use of such meetings at a time when the government in Kiev breaches the agreements about de-escalation of the crisis on the very next day, sending armor against the people who have to defend themselves?” Klimov wondered.

“The West was active in taking the side of convicted Khodorkovsky, Magnitsky and the Pussy Riot punk band. But it remains silent when dozens are being killed in Ukraine, like it happened in Odessa on May 2, who died only because they supported the federalization of Ukraine. BBC journalists have just complained to me they cannot figure out who is against whom in Ukraine. Russia’s answer is that Ukraine needs a general referendum about the country’s constitutional system that would reveal the people’ sentiment. Otherwise the government in Kiev will not only destroy the country’s economy but deprive Ukraine of its future,” believes Klimov.

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