The President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), Eugene Czolji stated that by holding presidential elections in the territory of annexed Crimea, the Russian Federation showed disregard for international law, which demonstrated the need to tighten sanctions against Russia, Ukrinform reports.
"The UWC condemns the illegal occupation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation in blatant violation of international law. We call to increase international pressure on Russia until the Crimea is returned to Ukraine's control and until all Crimean-Tatar and Ukrainian political prisoners are released," Czolij stressed.
He welcomed the decision of the OSCE and other international organizations to refuse to send their observers to the so-called "elections" in the Crimea. "Holding of the elections on the occupied territory of Ukraine was another attempt by the Kremlin to legitimize Crimea's illegal occupation," UWC President emphasized.
The Presidential Elections in the Russian Federation were held on March 18, the fourth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. Although Putin won the election, Ukraine and the West refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the elections held in the annexed peninsula. Ukraine and most nations still maintain that Russia’s annexation of the Crimea was illegal.
The Presidential Commissioner for Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev said that the voting turnout in the Crimea was falsified. According to him, only about 10% of the Crimean Tatars went to vote, mainly because they were state employees. However, the percentage of the voters in the Crimea was small enough relative to the rest of the voting population that it could not have significantly influenced Putin’s victory.