During a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Macron complained about “the intensification of the anti-Russian campaign”.
“When exchanging views on Ukraine, Vladimir Putin drew Emmanuel Macron's attention to the anti-Russian campaign of Kyiv authorities, which has intensified in the context of the upcoming presidential elections in March,” the Kremlin’s press service reported.
Putin said that the actions of the Ukrainian side, including the ban on Russian observers to monitor the elections, as well as refusal to open polling stations in Russia, contradict the "generally accepted democratic norms and principles of the OSCE."
It is noted that the sides emphasized the willingness to work together, including within the framework of the Normandy format. In addition, the Kremlin called the occupation of the Donbas by Russia “an internal Ukrainian conflict”.
The press service of the French president did not disclose details of the discussion of the Ukrainian issue. Syria was the main topic of the conversation between the leaders of the two countries.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has stated for a number of times that Kyiv will not register official observers from the Russian Federation. On February 7, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a bill prohibiting citizens of the Russian Federation from monitoring the elections in Ukraine.
The OSCE had earlier proposed that two Russian observers (Elizaveta Borisova from the Russian Public Institute of Election Law and Kristina Bogdanova from the Institute of Public Election Diplomacy) be included in the list of observers. However, the organization later announced that they would exclude Russians from the list of long-term observers.
At the same time, Russia stated that Moscow would still send observers to the Ukrainian elections on the election day.