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OSCE PA urges Ukraine’s envoy to ensure Russians’ voting

According to the OSCE PA, "efforts must be made to enable Russian citizens to cast their vote and to avoid any provocations"

VIENNA, March 19. /TASS/. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) has expressed concern over blocking Russians’ access to voting in Russia’s diplomatic missions in Ukraine and called on Kiev’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Igor Prokopchuk to ensure Russians’ voting and avoid provocations, Nat Parry, the Head of Communications and Press at the OSCE PA, told TASS on Sunday.

"Our mandate is to observe and assess [elections] in the country where the election is taking place, in this case in the Russian Federation, and not outside the country. The facilitation of voting outside of a country is a bilateral matter to be determined by the countries in question. I'm not aware of any international standards or obligations for the facilitation of voting for citizens of other countries," Patty noted referring to the OSCE PA’s stance on the alarming situation with blocking Russians’ access to voting in Ukraine.

"The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly however has raised concerns with the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the OSCE, Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, about the situation regarding voting at Russian diplomatic missions. A letter sent yesterday to Amb. Prokopchuk from Marietta Tidei, Vice-President of the OSCE PA and Head of the OSCE PA election observation mission to Russia, and Ignacio Sanchez Amor, Chair of the OSCE PA General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, expressed concern about the reported plans to block voting at Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine," he stressed.

According to Parry, the letter "acknowledged the difficult status of Russian-Ukrainian relations," but stressed that "efforts must be made to enable Russian citizens to cast their vote and to avoid any provocations".

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) earlier informed TASS that Russians’ voting in Ukraine should be determined by bilateral agreements between Moscow and Kiev due to the absence of international standards in this area.