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ODIHR election observation mission starts its work in Ukraine, says ambassador

The observers are expected to arrive there on February 11

KIEV, February 6. /TASS/. The mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has started its work to monitor the presidential election in Ukraine scheduled for March 31, 2019.

"Our mission’s work started yesterday, and today we have been kindly received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we also conduced our first meeting with the Central Election Commission," the head of the ODIHR Election Observation Mission, Peter Tejler, told a news conference on Wednesday. He said this core team includes 17 international experts from 13 OSCE participating states.

"On Monday next week... we expect the arrival of long-term observers," Tejler added. "And a few days before election day... we will be joined by a large number of short-term observers" who will also be deployed around the country, the head of the mission said. They will be tasked with monitoring the voting on election day, he said.

"The day after the election, April 1, we will deliver a statement of preliminary findings," he went on to say. "And some eight weeks after election day," the mission hopes "to present our final report, and that will include recommendations on how to improve the process," Tejler said.

"We will assess elections against the OSCE commitments," he stressed. "We are not interested in the outcome of the election but rather that the process is transparent and conducted in line with OSCE commitments," Peter Tejler stressed.

Tejler did not specify whether there were Russian observers in the mission.

Earlier, the Ukrainian authorities and personally President Pyotr Poroshenko said they wanted to ban entry for the Russian observers as part of the OSCE mission.

Russia expects assessments by the OSCE and its Parliamentary Assembly on unprecedented steps by Ukraine’s authorities who are planning to ban entry for Russian observers, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Wednesday.

In January, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said in a letter to Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir that Kiev would not have Russian nationals as observers. The ODIHR, in turn, said it planned to act based on principles enshrined in OSCE documents and confirmed by election monitoring practices. Russia said it was ready to send observers to Ukraine and expected the Kiev authorities to allow them to monitor the election together with other members of the OSCE observer mission.