The European Union says it “strongly condemns” the holding of local elections in the territories of Ukraine that Russia has “temporarily” occupied.
A strongly worded statement issued on Monday called the elections “illegitimate”.
They were held at the weekend in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol and in parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine.
The statement stated, “We strongly reject this further futile attempt by Russia to legitimise or normalize its illegal military control and attempted annexation of parts of Ukrainian territories, as condemned in the UNGA Resolution adopted on 12 October 2022.
“It represents yet another manifest violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
It goes on, “The European Union does not and will not recognise either the holding of these so-called “elections” or their results.
“Russia’s political leadership and those involved in organising them will face consequences of these illegal actions,” says the EU in the statement.
It continues, “These illegal so-called “elections” in Ukraine took place amidst Russia’s forced and illegal granting of passports, including to children, forced transfer and deportation, widespread and systematic violations and abuses of human rights as well as intimidation and increasing repression of Ukrainian citizens by Russia and its illegitimately appointed authorities in the temporary occupied territories of Ukraine,” it reads.
The EU states, “The European Union commends the courage of the Ukrainian residents who opposed the sham voting and continue to resist the Russian occupation.”
“The European Union remains firmly committed to supporting Ukraine and its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia must immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.”
The statement concludes by saying, “Furthermore, the elections in Russia took place in a highly restricted environment fuelled by the aggression against Ukraine. Russian authorities have amplified internal repression by introducing war censorship and further cracking down on opposition politicians, civil society organisations, independent media and other critical voices with the use of repressive legislation and politically motivated sentences.”
“This has resulted in restrictions of civil and political rights, precluding many candidates from running and limiting Russian voters’ choice and access to accurate information about candidates,” it ends.