EU condemns ‘climate of intimidation’ ahead of Russia parliamentary vote

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The European Union denounced Monday what it said was a climate of intimidation in the run up to Russia’s parliamentary vote and complained of a lack of independent election observers.

“What we have seen in the run up to these elections was an atmosphere of intimidation of all the critical independent voices,” EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said.

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The three-day vote, which ended on Sunday, gave President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party a sweeping victory despite opinion polls showing its support at a historic low.

Opposition parties have claimed mass fraud, and Stano told a press briefing that Brussels is concerned by reports from local observers.

“There was no international independent observation, so it’s very difficult to actually see how the elections were executed,” he said.

“But we have number of reports from independent local observers that were reporting a lot of irregularities during these elections.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is expected to meet Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week, he said.

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