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Ukraine protests against CIS observer mission in Crimea for Duma election

Kiev says any visits to Crimea and Sevastopol will entail responsibility

KIEV, August 18. /TASS/. Ukraine is categorically against the sending of observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to monitor the Russian parliamentary elections in Crimea, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s press service reports.

"The Ukrainian side has officially voiced to the CIS Executive Committee its position regarding Russia’s intentions to include the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in them (elections to the Russian State Duma lower house)," it said.

The ministry said any participation in monitoring elections in these territories "will be considered as unfriendly move" and visits to Crimea and Sevastopol "will entail responsibility". The ministry has forwarded a note to the Executive Committee of the CIS, a loose alliance of the post-Soviet states.

Earlier, a diplomatic source told TASS that the mission of the European security agency’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) that will monitor the parliamentary elections in Russia, includes two Ukrainian representatives.

The source said the Central Election Commission had earlier sent invitations to 43 countries to monitor the elections to the Russian lower house of parliament, including to Ukraine and the US.

Elections to the 450-seat Russian State Duma will be held on September 18 under a mixed system: 225 lawmakers will be elected in one-seat constituencies and another 225 will be elected by party tickets.