22 Jan 2019 19:50

Ukraine's CEC has no reasons to deny Russian OSCE officials to be observers at election - Opora civil observer network

KYIV. Jan 22 (Interfax) - Ukraine lacks legislative rules, which would enable the Central Elections Commission (CEC) to deny Russian citizens' right to be observers at elections, but they may have some problems with Ukrainian border crossing, coordinator of the electoral programs of the OPORA Civil Network Olha Aivazovska said.

"Some international observers are officially invited by the state, but others are entitled to come on their own, register in the CEC and get an opportunity to monitor the voting. As to the OSCE Mission, the Ukrainian side has already invited them. At the same time, the arrival of members of the organization, who are Russian citizens, is not welcomed. Meanwhile, the OSCE has its internal procedures it will most likely comply with," Aivazovska told media in comments on Russia's plans to send its observers as part of the OSCE Mission to monitor the Ukrainian presidential election.

While organizing the OSCE Mission to monitor the presidential election, a contest will be announced, she said. Candidates from each of the 57 OSCE member states can take part in it.

"After the OSCE draws up a list of observers, it files applications with Ukraine's CEC and the Foreign Ministry. Ukraine's CEC can hypothetically deny Russian OSCE officials to be observers in our elections. There are no legislative rules for that," Aivazovska said.

Russian citizens can have some problems when crossing the Ukrainian border, she said.

"Ukraine's CEC cannot refuse that a Russian observer will monitor the election, motivating this by his or her citizenship. Therefore, other circumstances, which will prevent him or her from being an observer in Ukraine, may arise. For instance, we understand that the entry of Russian citizens to Ukraine was restricted due to the martial law," she said.

As concerns the OSCE, "they themselves could assess all the risks of Russians' work as observers at Ukrainian elections," Aivazovska said.

"Although, as far as I remember, members of international organizations were not denied access due to their citizenship. So, this will be a precedent. Russian observers have visited our country in 2014," she said.

The presence of a lot of Russian observers at the elections in Ukraine can reduce trust to its returns, Aivazovska said.

The OSCE invited Moscow to send Russian observers to monitor Ukrainian elections, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on January 18.

On January 21, Russia's CEC submitted to the Russian Foreign Ministry a list of possible members of the OSCE Election Observer Mission at the Ukrainian presidential election.