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Kiev violated its OSCE commitments by not letting Russian monitors to polls — diplomat

Russia's OSCE envoy, Alexander Lukashevich Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russia's OSCE envoy, Alexander Lukashevich
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Ukraine’s decision to bar Russian observers from monitoring the March 2019 presidential election will constitute a serious breach of the country’s commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia’s OSCE envoy said on Thursday.

"We are outraged by the statement of Pavlo Klimkin not to allow Russia observers, even from OSCE ODIHR [OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights], to monitor presidential election in Ukraine. This is a gross violation of OSCE fundamental commitments, incl. paragraph 8 of the 1990 Copenhagen Document," Alexander Lukashevich said on the Russian mission’s official Twitter page.

He called upon Slovakia, which assumed the rotating OSCE presidency on January 1, and ODIHR Director Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottirwe not to allow discrimination of Russian observers as part of the OSCE ODIHR election monitoring mission in Ukraine.

"OSCE representatives in the Contact Group should focus on facilitation of full implementation of the Minsk "Package of measures" by the sides of the conflict - Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk," the Russian diplomat added. "We expect Slovak CiO [Chairperson-in-office] to ensure impartial and effective functioning of the OSCE SMM [Special Monitoring Mission] in Ukraine."

Embassy's reaction

Kiev’s decision to deny accreditation to Russian monitors for the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine goes against the government’s declared commitment to democratic values, including the transparency of elections, the Russian embassy in Ukraine said on its website on Thursday.

"Once again, the Kiev government has confirmed its reluctance to honor the norms of the international law. Instead, it put forward quite an arbitrary interpretation of the commitments it undertook as a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including within the framework of the 1990 Copenhagen Document on the Human Dimension of the CSCE/OSCE and the Decision on strengthening the effectiveness of the OSCE, adopted during the OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels in 2006," the embassy said.

"The intentions, voiced by the minister, clearly contradict Ukraine’s declared adherence to democratic values, including free, fair and transparent elections," it said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said on Wednesday that he had sent a letter to OSCE ODIHR Director Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir requesting to deploy a monitoring mission for the presidential election in Ukraine. Among other things, he pointed out that Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry will not be receiving applications from Russian observers.

The Ukrainian presidential election is scheduled to be held on March 31. Ukraine’s Central Election Commission introduced amendments to the decree on polling stations on December 31, 2018, closing all polling stations in Russia. The decree says that Ukrainians, who entered Russia, can exercise their voting right at polling stations in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Finland.