MOSCOW, March 28. /TASS/. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has offered no reaction after Kiev hindered access to polling stations in Ukraine for Russian nationals, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said in a televised interview with the Rossiya’24 channel on Wednesday.
"The ODIHR has not reacted to the situation, although we had showered them with requests since it is their direct duty to monitor how the electoral campaign is going on, including in foreign countries," Lukashevich said.
According to Lukashevich, "Ukrainians once again demonstrated their aggressiveness" happening to become the only country that did not allow Russians to vote at their diplomatic missions, which runs counter in essence to commitments made both at the OSCE and in the bilateral consular convention."
"It is a fundamental right to cast ballots in honest and open elections," the diplomat noted.
Lukashevich reminded that more than 300 Russian citizens out of 72,000 staying in the country (in line with the data provided by Russia’s Central Election Commission) had been able to cast ballots in early voting organized ahead of the election day at polling stations in Ukraine.
In the run-up to the Russian presidential election, Ukrainian nationalists vowed to derail voting at polling areas in Russian diplomatic missions in the country. Later, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Russian nationals would be denied access to Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine, namely in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Lvov, on March 18.
Hundreds of Ukrainian security officers, police and nationalists blocked access to the Russian embassy in Kiev. They checked passports and allowed only diplomats into the building. Similar restrictions for Russian citizens were reported outside consulates-general in Odessa, Kharkov and Lvov. As a result, only diplomats and diplomatic missions’ employees were able to take part in the voting.
Russian citizens in Ukraine were denied the right to vote.