Election in Russia will neither be free, nor fair – Baltic ministers

  • 2024-02-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As the presidential election nears in Russia, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have issued a joint statement underlining that the election will neither be free, nor fair, and the results will not be recognized in the occupied territories.

"The upcoming presidential “elections” in Russia will be neither free nor fair. In the environment of total crackdown on opposition and independent media, with lack of credible alternative candidates and without the international monitoring, these elections will lack any democratic legitimacy," reads the joint statement issued by Lithuania's Foreign Ministry on Monday.

As this brutal war continues, Russia plans to organize so-called elections on the dates coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea, which is "yet another blatant provocation by Russia", it says.

"This step is difficult to treat as anything but yet another attempt to legalize the temporary occupation and annexation of the Ukrainian territories," the statement reads.

Referring to EU High representative Josep Borrell's statement of December 12, 2023, the three Baltic foreign ministers stressed that holding Russia’s elections in the temporarily occupied and illegally annexed territories of Ukraine as a grave violation of international law, the UN Charter and Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"We do not and will not recognize holding of such elections nor their results in Ukraine’s territories temporarily occupied and illegally annexed by Russia. Russia has no legitimate basis for any such action on the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine. We strongly condemn these unacceptable decisions by Russia’s political leadership. Russia’s political leadership and those involved in organizing such action will bear the consequences of these illegal activities," the joint statement says.

The ministers also expressed their firm support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk.