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Russia's presidential election is neither free nor fair, say EU and Nato

The three-day vote is expected to result in Putin claiming another six years in power.

THE EU AND Nato have stated that the presidential election being held in Russia, which is set to see Vladimir Putin re-elected, will not be free or fair because the Kremlin has crushed all opposition.

The three-day vote, expected to result in Putin claiming another six years in power, comes after his invasion of Ukraine has destroyed ties between Russia and the west.

Both the European Union and Nato have condemned Russia’s decision to stage the vote in areas of Ukraine that are occupied by its soldiers and that Moscow claims as its own territory. 

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of deceased Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny, has urged other countries not to recognise the results of the presidential election, which starts tomorrow.

EU spokesperson Peter Stano said: “We know, given the track record of how votes are being prepared and organised in Russia under the current Kremlin administration and regime, how this will look like.”

“It’s very difficult to foresee that this would be a free, fair and democratic election where the Russian people would really have a choice.”

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg also said the ballot “in Russia will not be free and fair”.

“We know already that opposition politicians are in jail, some are killed, and many are in exile, and actually also some who tried to register as candidates have been denied that right,” he said.

“There is no free and independent press in Russia.”

“Russia’s attempts to organise any part of an election in occupied regions of Ukraine are completely illegal, violating international law,” Stoltenberg said.

The EU said it will not recognise the ballot in those regions.

Victory will allow Putin to stay in the Kremlin until at least 2030, longer than any other Russian leader since 18th century.

Technically, Putin officially faces off against three Kremlin-approved candidates from political parties loyal to him and his policies, but no genuine opposition candidate has been allowed onto the ballot.

© AFP 2024

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