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"Avoid Participating In This Farce": Ukraine Urges Its Citizens To Ignore Russia's "Pseudo Elections"

02:31 PM Mar 17, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
 avoid participating in this farce   ukraine urges its citizens to ignore russia s  pseudo elections
"Avoid Participating In This Farce": Ukraine Urges Its Citizens To Ignore Russia's "Pseudo Elections"

Kyiv [Ukraine]: The Ukrainian government has appealed to the citizens living in those territories that are under Russian control, after the start of conflict two years ago, to turn their backs on Moscow's "pseudo-elections," CNN reported.

The Russian presidential elections, held over three days, will culminate on Sunday and are widely assumed to see Vladimir Putin return as president for six more years.

"Ukrainian citizens should avoid participating in this farce in every way possible," Ukraine minister Iryna Vereshchuk said - which meant no one should be helping to organize the polling, campaigning, voting, or acting as an observer of the elections, the government said in a statement.

"Do not engage in collaboration, do not help the occupiers to hold fake elections," Vereshchuk added, warning that those who did so willingly were breaking Ukrainian law, though forced participation was not unlawful, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, in-person voting has been underway since Friday, but Sunday is expected to see the largest number of polling stations open in Crimea, as well as those parts of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are under Russian control.

CNN cited a Russian state-run news agency, RIA Novosti, which purportedly showed a mobile election team setting up in Avdiivka, a town captured by Russian forces last month in an important territorial gain.

"Our team is mobile to give the residents of Avdiivka the opportunity to vote in the presidential election. We have everything that is necessary for voting - ballots, a ballot box, a screen," a man called Danil, described as an election commission head, says, a scarf around his face hiding his identity.

As several people are shown casting their votes, a woman, who says she is an Orthodox Christian of the Russian Church, expresses her gratitude.

"We've been waiting for this. I'm very glad. Thank you very much for coming to us," she says.

For Ukraine and its international allies, the voting exercise is seen as a Russian attempt to give 'legitimacy' to its control over the Ukrainian territory it holds, according to CNN.

Russian Telegram channels have showed other mobile election teams across the territories under Moscow control, including some which show Russian soldiers accompanying election officials as they go house to house.

Ukrainian officials say intimidation tactics like that are commonplace and are aimed at forcing people to give their vote to Putin.

Russia's election officials have been posting updates on what they say is turnout in the various regions. In Kherson, the figure by 5:30 pm (local time) on Saturday was put at 77.7 per cent, while in occupied Donetsk the figure just after 9 pm Saturday stood at 86.5 per cent, as reported by CNN.

Ukraine claims that Moscow will "fabricate" the final results and insists that the majority of people living under Russian occupation are choosing not to take part in the poll.

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