Russia election breaks international law: Ukraine FM

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Ukraine on Thursday accused Russia of breaching international law by hosting parliamentary elections on the Crimean peninsula and allowing residents of separatist-controlled regions to cast ballots in the vote.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has been accused by Kiev and its allies of supporting pro-Moscow separatists in two eastern regions.

Russian-passport holders in Lugansk and Donetsk have been permitted to vote in the State Duma elections between Friday to Sunday.

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Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told journalists Moscow was in “violation of international law” by organising the vote in the eastern regions and Crimea.

“The only status that the Russian Federation has is as an occupying state,” Kuleba said, adding that Moscow would “one day have to pay.”

Ukraine’s army has been locked in a simmering conflict with the separatists that has claimed 13,000 lives since 2014, and has escalated in recent days.

More than 600,000 people in Donetsk and Lugansk have received Russian passports since 2019 and will be eligible to cast votes online or in Rostov across the border.

Moscow has hosted elections in Crimea since 2016, following an initial and controversial referendum on integration with Russia and pressuring residents to receive Russian passports.

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