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34 foreign observers participated in Russian “elections” in occupied Ukrainian territories

The European Platform for Democratic Elections urged the EU to consider sanctions and visa restrictions for non-EU nationals involved in unauthorized activities in Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions.
sham elections occupied Ukraine
Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast. Skadovsk. A so-called “polling station” on 8 September 2023 Photo: Kherson Oblast Elections/Telegram propaganda channel
34 foreign observers participated in Russian “elections” in occupied Ukrainian territories

On September 10, Russian authorities organized their annual “single voting day” not just across their nation but also within Ukrainian territories they temporarily seized between 2014 and 2022. This includes the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol, parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. Some areas even began the “elections” as early as September 8.

The European Union was swift in its response, outright condemning the elections within these occupied Ukrainian regions. In a similar vein, the United States branded the elections in these occupied zones as “sham elections”, emphasizing that these were mere propaganda moves by Russia. The US further warned of possible sanctions and visa restrictions on anyone supporting or acting as “international observers” in these so-called elections.

Yet, in a bid to bestow an international credibility on these otherwise non-legitimate Russian elections, Russian forces ushered in a number of foreigners to the occupied territories to act as “international election observers”.

“You сan’t hold elections in someone else’s country”: Why Russia’s “voting” in occupied Ukraine is a sham

This tactic is not new. Over the past two decades, Russia has used “international observers” as a ruse to legitimize fraudulent elections, endorse unsanctioned plebiscites, and further their international political agendas, European Platform for Democratic Elections reports.

Preliminary data suggest that up to 40 “international observers” were involved in this propaganda stunt spanning September 8-10, 2023. From European Platform’s for Democratic Elections investigation, 34 non-Russian foreign individuals played a part in the “international observation” of the Russian “elections” within occupied Ukrainian regions.

“By entering Ukrainian territories illegally, all “international observers” have violated Ukrainian laws, and we call on relevant national authorities to inform their citizens of the consequences that they may face for their participation in the Russian propaganda efforts.  We also call on the EU to consider imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on the non-EU citizens involved in illegal activities in Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine,” the organization stressed.

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