The European Union today expressed deep concern over the attitude of the Russian authorities towards the opposition, civil society and independent media, and called on them to change their behavior.
In a statement on the occasion of the parliamentary, regional and local elections in Russia, held from September 17 to 19, Borel stated that the EU “noted that independent and reliable sources reported serious irregularities.”
“The EU regrets that Russia’s decision to sharply limit the size and format of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ (ODIHR) international observation mission has prevented its arrival,” Borel said.
He added that ahead of the elections in Russia, there was “increased repression” against opposition politicians, civil society organizations and independent media and journalists.
“This has resulted in limited elections for Russian voters and their ability to obtain complete and accurate information about candidates,” the European foreign minister wrote.
He also stated that Russia should adhere to the obligations it has undertaken within the UN, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe, regarding the protection of human rights and democratic values.
Borel also stated that the EU does not recognize and will not recognize the “illegal Russian annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol” and that is why “it does not recognize the so.called elections held on the occupied Crimean peninsula.”
“Russia’s decision to include residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine in parliamentary, regional and local elections is contrary to the spirit and goals of the Minsk agreement. The EU remains steadfast in supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Borel added.