The European Union has lashed out at Moscow for holding Russian elections in occupied parts of Ukraine.
Russia has been running elections for local positions nationwide over the past number of days, with the Kremlin also holding polls in parts of Ukraine it had annexed last year.
This has angered Europe’s top politicians, with the European Council threatening “consequences” over the “sham voting”.
“The European Union strongly condemns the holding of these illegitimate so-called ‘elections’,” the Council statement read.
“The European Union does not and will not recognise either the holding of these so-called ‘elections’ or their results,” it added.
“Russia’s political leadership and those involved in organising them will face consequences of these illegal actions.”
A senior figure within Ukraine’s security establishment has suggested that the Third World War has already begun with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. https://t.co/AZHGB00v0j
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 7, 2023
EU officials have also criticised elections held on the Russian mainland, with Brussels accusing Moscow of stifling accurate reporting and political dissent.
“The elections in Russia took place in a highly restricted environment fuelled by the aggression against Ukraine,” they said.
“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.”
Russian reporting of the voting has taken a different tone, with the country’s state-affiliated news service TASS claiming high turnouts in the Ukrainian cities of Kherson and Luhansk.
“The final turnout was 72.53 per cent,” a pro-Russian official in the latter region claimed.
Another official based in Kherson claimed that the public showed up to vote with a “positive mood and with positive emotions”.
The region overall saw a 62.68 per cent turnout according to Russia, with the occupied city of Henichesk seeing an alleged turnout of 45.74 per cent.
The EU risks “importing instability” if it relaxes its standards on democracy and corruption to hasten the accession of Ukraine and other candidate countries, Denmark’s Finance Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has warned. https://t.co/IvL88uN72u
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) June 29, 2023