The Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin stated that polling stations in Russia would not open at the suggestion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to him, the main reason for this decision is the issue of security.
“We believe that holding free and fair elections in the territory of the aggressor country is impossible, devoid of political and legal meaning, and for those who decide to participate in them, it is simply dangerous,” wrote Klimkin in a column in the Ukrainska Pravda.
“Russian propaganda in recent years has raised the degree of anti-Ukrainian sentiment among the Russian population to the level of hysteria. We cannot guarantee that there will not be dangerous provocations on election day. Both Ukrainian voters and our employees can suffer, and in the end the building themselves. In addition, there is no doubt that all who will take part in voting, will be under FSB scrutiny and will soon become the victims of repression,” said the minister explaining his point of view.
Ukraine cannot trust Russia’s guarantees on safety, he stressed.
The Minister added that the closure of the polling stations would not play a significant role. Although the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia has more than 2.5 million people, there were only 49,418 voters registered in 2014, and less than 1,200 people voted.
The Ukrainian Central Election Commission at its meeting on December 31st decided to eliminated polling stations in diplomatic establishments in Russia, namely, in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Novosibirsk.
Ukrainians in Russia are invited to go to vote in Tbilisi, Astana or Helsinki.