The European Union has warned Russia of “consequences” for those involved in organizing the “illegal” elections over the weekend in Ukrainian regions occupied by the Kremlin, while Germany said new EU sanctions are possible.
Moscow claimed on September 11 that the country’s ruling party, United Russia, had won local elections in Ukrainian areas occupied by Russia.
Brussels followed soon afterward by condemning the vote, which it said represented “yet another manifest violation of international law,” adding that it will not recognize “either the holding of these so-called ‘elections’ or their results.”
“We strongly reject this further futile attempt by Russia to legitimize or normalize its illegal military control and attempted annexation of parts of Ukrainian territories,” the statement said. “Russia’s political leadership and those involved in organizing them will face the consequences of these illegal actions.”
A spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry said in Berlin on September 11 that EU sanctions against those responsible for holding the elections “are conceivable.”
Since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU has imposed 11 rounds of sanctions against Moscow and those around President Vladimir Putin.
The voting for Russian-installed legislatures in the illegally occupied parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya regions of Ukraine began on September 8 and concluded on September 10.
Russia’s Central Election Commission claimed on September 11 that the country’s ruling party, United Russia, had won the most votes in elections held in the occupied Ukrainian regions, none of which Moscow fully controls.
In September 2022, Moscow proclaimed its annexation of the four partially occupied regions after staging referendums that Western nations dismissed as fraudulent. Three-quarters of the countries at the United Nations General Assembly in October 2022 condemned Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of the four regions.
Balloting in the occupied areas of Ukraine has been denounced by Kyiv and the West as a “sham” and a violation of international law. Ukrainian officials urged other countries not to recognize the results of the vote, which the Foreign Ministry called “fake elections.”