8 Feb 2019 20:21

Russia not to send monitors to Ukrainian elections for security reasons - Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Feb 8 (Interfax) - Russia will not delegate its monitors to the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"Out of considerations of security of our representatives in the ODIHR [OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights] election observation mission, Russia has decided to refrain from posting them in Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Friday.

"We view Ukraine's refusal to accredit Russian observers as a gross violation of international obligations in the area of generally accepted electoral procedures," the ministry said.

"The absence of Russian observers in international monitoring missions along with the deprivation of millions of Ukrainian citizens of an opportunity to vote in the Ukrainian presidential election in Russian territory call into question transparency and impartiality of the outcomes of the upcoming voting," it said.

"This causes significant damage to the image of the ODIHR, which claims to be the watchdog of 'the gold standard' for election monitoring principles," it said.

"We urge our partners, primarily those among Kyiv's Western tutors on democratic development matters, to fairly assess the Ukrainian authorities' actions and demand that they return to the international legal framework," it said.

OSCE/ODIHR Spokesperson Thomas Rymer had said earlier on Friday that two Russians would be removed from the list of long-term observers in the Ukrainian elections due to Kyiv's refusal to accredit them.