Russian nationals barred from voting in Ukraine presidential elections

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 17, 2018, 06.34 AM(IST)

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov Photograph:( Reuters )

Russians living in Ukraine will be unable to vote in Russia's presidential election because access to Moscow's diplomatic missions will be blocked, Kiev said Friday.

"On Sunday, March 18, 2018, security arrangements for Russia's Ukraine-based diplomatic missions in Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa and Lviv will not provide access to these facilities for Russian nationals voting in the election," Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov said.

The ministry said that elections "on the sovereign Ukrainian territory" are inadmissible. 

The announcement came in retaliation for Russia's annexation of Crimea, which votes in a presidential election for the first time since it was taken over in 2014.

"Ukraine's interior ministry states that conducting illegal elections on Ukraine's sovereign territory in violation of all norms of international law is unacceptable," Avakov said on Facebook.

He also pointed to "Russia's aggressive hybrid war against Ukraine" and "the occupation of parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions" in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow's foreign ministry responded by criticising what it called Ukrainian "overt interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation." 

It accused Ukrainian authorities of displaying "righteous indignation" and "taking their revenge on ordinary Russian citizens.

According to the Ukrainian interior minister, access to Russian diplomatic institutions will be granted only to people enjoying diplomatic status.

(WIth AFP inputs)