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MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. The voting at the upcoming State Duma elections in the premises of Russia’s diplomatic missions in Ukraine will be held, Russia’s Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"The ballot stations on Ukraine’s territory will be set up in the Russian embassy and in our consulates general," the diplomat said. "Our diplomatic missions are Russia’s territory, there is nothing to discuss here."
Last week, Russia urged Kiev to ensure a safe voting for Russian nationals in Ukraine. "We sent an invitation to international observers. There is an understanding that there will be increased monitoring in line with the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine at four Russian diplomatic missions," she said.
"We received such assurances from the SMM leadership and from the OSCE," Zakharova added.
On September 10, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko ordered to inform Russia’s leadership that it is impossible to hold elections to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, on Ukraine’s territory. Later Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maryana Betsa said that the vote was even impossible "on the premises of Russia’s diplomatic and consular missions."
Kiev said the condition for holding the vote in Ukraine was Moscow’s refusal to carry out polls in Crimea and Sevastopol. Another condition was to exclude the candidates nominated by the Russian political parties in Crimea and Sevastopol from the ballots.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this week the Russian side would not consider any demands in this particular case.
A member of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Vasily Likhachev, earlier said there are some 80,000 Russian voters in Ukraine.
Elections to the State Duma will be held on September 18 in a split system: 225 members of parliament will be elected by party tickets, while the other 225 are going to be elected in one-seat constituencies.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has opened 354 polling stations in 154 countries to conduct expat voting in the upcoming State Duma elections scheduled for September 18, the Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated at a weekly briefing.
"To cast their votes, Russian nationals will have to provide passports," Zakharova explained.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has been in close contact with the Central Election Committee (CEC), Zakharova added. "An early voting procedure has been agreed upon with the CEC, including voting in those countries where Sunday September 18 is a working day due to local particularities," Zakharova noted.
"We have already received some results in the run-up to the election, as of September 14, more than nine thousand people have registered absentee ballots at Russia’s foreign establishments," the spokeswoman elaborated.
According to Zakharova, the State Duma elections are going to be one of the main events in Russia’s foreign political life this week. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is actively participating in this work," she said noting that it was about opening polling stations and arranging the voting process at Russian diplomatic missions.