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OSCE human rights body adds 24 Russians to observers list at Ukrainian election

Ukraine’s presidential election is scheduled for March 31

WARSAW, March 15. /TASS/. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has added 24 Russians to the short-term observers' list at the Ukrainian presidential election, ODIHR Spokesperson Thomas Rymer told TASS on Friday.

"ODIHR has just sent to the Central Election Commission of Ukraine the list of the names offered by OSCE participating States to take part as short-term observers for the ODIHR election observation mission for the presidential election in Ukraine. Included in the list are the names of the 24 people offered as observers by the Russian Federation," Rymer noted.

Ukraine’s presidential election is scheduled for March 31. The Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, passed a law on February 7 banning Russian citizens from monitoring the presidential, parliamentary and local elections in the country both personally or as members of international organizations. The OSCE ODIHR has criticized this move, announcing plans to act in accordance with the procedures established by the organization.

On February 13, Russia received a notice from the OSCE’s ODIHR asking to dispatch short-term observers to monitor the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry recalled that earlier Ukraine’s Central Election Commission had rejected a request made by the ODIHR on accrediting two long-term observers from Russia within the mission. However, Russia announced its plans to utilize its right to monitor the election within an international mission. 

Peter Taylor, head of the OSCE ODIHR Election Monitoring Mission, pointed out that Kiev’s stance on the issue was incongruous with OSCE principles. US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker likewise pointed to the need to let Russian observers monitor Ukraine’s presidential election.
Short-term observers at ODIHR’s missions visit polling stations on election day, while long-term observers monitor the entire election process during and after the polls.