With a view to launch it GEOM, Gender Concerns has been closely following the recent developments in Ukraine regarding the Ukraine’s position towards accepting Russian election observers as part of international election observation missions.
Yesterday, the bill banning Russians from engaging in election monitoring in Ukraine was passed by the Ukrainian parliament, which caused a certain reaction from both Russia and OSCE.
However, recognizing Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty, OSCE has, after some time of reflection, chosen to comply with the said law and has removed the two Russians from their original list of proposed election observers for the Ukrainian presidential elections.
When asked, whether the OSCE is considering replacing these 2 Russians, the spokesperson for OSCE ODIHR – Thomas Rymer said: "If, as the Ukrainian authorities have already announced, these two people are not accredited as observers, then there will be 90 long-term observers with the mission", meaning that the election monitoring activities in Ukraine will continue as planned with the first observers arriving on Monday 11th February.
This is a welcome response that further ensures European support to strengthen democracy and the democratic transformation in Ukraine.