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Russia may go to ECHR over Kiev’s hampering Russian nationals to vote in presidential poll

March 16, 20:20 UTC+3

The Ukrainian interior minister said earlier on Friday that Russian nationals would be denied access to Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine on Sunday, the presidential election day in Russia

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© EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russia may go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) or the United Nations International Court of Justice if Ukraine denies access to Russian diplomatic missions for Russian nationals wanting to take part in the presidential polls, Vasily Likhachev, a member of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC), told TASS on Friday.

"If such facts do take place, as an expert in international law, I can say that we will have serious grounds to go to the European Court of Human Rights or, maybe, the United Nations International Court of Justice to protect our citizens," he said.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said earlier on Friday that Russian nationals would be denied access to Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine on Sunday, the presidential election day in Russia. "The Ukrainian interior ministry informs that security arrangements at Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine, namely in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Lvov, on Sunday, March 18, will not imply access to these facilities for Russian citizens wanting to cast their votes at the election," he wrote on his Facebook account.

"Avakov’s Friday statement demonstrates that Ukraine has embarked on a path of humanitarian aggression against Russian citizens, whose right to vote is granted not only by the Russian constitution and laws but also by the generally recognized norms and principles of international law," Likhachev stressed.

"The OSCE structures have been tasked to ensure monitoring and control over Russian diplomatic missions that will organize voting on March 18," he noted, adding that OSCE monitors cannot interfere into the situation but can only report facts.

The Russian CEC member recalled that a number of Ukrainian radical organizations had earlier said they would spare no effort to hamper Russians who would come to Russian diplomatic missions to cast their votes at the presidential election. He stressed that the Ukrainian interior minister’s statements "concern the sphere of Ukraine’s liabilities under international law."

"Situations like this violate the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the bilateral convention on consular cooperation between Moscow and Kiev. It is important that the Ukrainian side keep it in mind," he said.

Apart from that, he said that Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) is addressing the situation around voting at the upcoming Russian presidential polls in Ukraine in cooperation with the Russian foreign ministry and law enforcement structures.

"We are addressing this situation together with the foreign ministry and our corresponding law enforcement structures that are responsible for security of Russian nationals, including those who work at Russian diplomatic missions," Likhachev added.

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