Ukraine says any Russian presidential voting in its occupied areas could be ‘null and void’

KYIV, UkraineUkraine on Saturday condemned Russia’s intention to prepare presidential election voting in occupied Ukrainian territory subsequent yr.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated any such balloting held within the occupied areas within the nation could be “null and void” and pledged that any worldwide observers despatched to observe the Russian election would “face criminal responsibility.”

“We call on the international community to resolutely condemn Russia’s intention to hold presidential elections in the occupied Ukrainian territories, and to impose sanctions on those involved in their organization and conduct,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry stated.

Lawmakers in Russia on Thursday set the nation’s 2024 presidential election for March 17. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced his candidacy for reelection. He is all however sure to win one other six-year time period.

Russian authorities are nonetheless pondering whether or not to rearrange the voting in Ukraine‘s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. Moscow illegally annexed the four regions in September 2022 but only controls parts of them.

Putin subsequently introduced martial law in those areas, and Russian lawmakers amended regulations to allow elections in territories where martial law was in place. Russian authorities held elections in the annexed regions in September for Moscow-installed legislatures; Ukraine and its Western allies denounced the votes as a sham.

The head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, stated Thursday that along with the Russian army, safety forces and the Moscow-appointed governors in Ukraine, election authorities would determine by Dec. 12 on “the possibility of holding” the presidential vote within the Ukrainian areas.

“After weighting in all pros and cons, we will be making this decision. If we decide (to hold the vote), then the next step would be to adopt a plan for holding elections there,” Pamfilova was quoted by the Interfax information company as saying. “Of course, it will be somewhat different from the balloting in Russian regions, the law allows for it.”

Russia does plan to carry the presidential election within the Crimean Peninsula, which it illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

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