ROSTOV-ON-DON, February 22. /TASS/. Difficulties may arise in arranging the Russian presidential election vote on Ukraine’s territory, Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian integration and Relations with Compatriots Viktor Vodolatsky told TASS.
"As for Ukraine, we can see what has been happening to the facilities of Rossotrudnichestvo [Russia’s Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation - TASS]," he said. "These are links in a chain: our diplomatic property was seized in America, while in Ukraine, Rossotrudnichestvo’s building was assaulted. Clearly, it will be very difficult to arrange the vote in Ukraine… we are concerned for our fellow citizens," the senior Russian lawmaker said.
Vodolatsky did not rule out that provocations may take place in Ukraine during the Russian presidential election. "We understand what consequences some people may face, particularly elderly ones. This is why we have been thoroughly explaining matters to our fellow citizens living in Ukraine. However, it is hard to say how the vote will go there," he said.
According to Vodolatsky, a working group formed by the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) has held several meetings to discuss issues related to arranging the presidential election vote in foreign countries, including Ukraine.
In early February, Russia notified the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry about plans to open four polling stations on the country’s territory in order to provide Russian citizens living in Ukraine with an opportunity to cast ballots in the presidential election scheduled to take place on March 18. Besides, Russia requested that the Ukrainian authorities take steps to ensure security during the vote.
According to the Russian embassy in Ukraine, polling stations will be open on the premises of the Russian embassy in Kiev, as well as in the Russian consulate generals in Lvov, Odessa and Kharkov.