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Tension Grows between Kiev and Moscow | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man holds a Russian flag on the roof of the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Moscow-The past few days have been witnessing an exchange of violent statements between Moscow and Kiev, marking a new phase of tension between Russia and Ukraine over their dispute on Crimea’s sovereignty.

Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, will witness parliamentary elections like other regions in the country, which means that delegations representing Moscow in the international circles will include Crimean MPs.

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin has vowed to take decisive steps against any Russian delegation that includes MPs from Crimea. Klimkin said his country’s position in this matter is clear and that if the international community recognizes illegitimate delegations, then Crimea may suspend its participation in the assembly’s meetings.

This Ukrainian position came days after an escalation of exchanged statements between Moscow and Kiev regarding elections set to be held on September 18 in Crimea, which is currently under Russian control, while Kiev considers it as occupied Ukrainian territories.

Tension between the two countries has increased after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko assigned his Foreign Minister to inform Russia that holding elections in Crimea is not possible; on September 10, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced its readiness to allow citizens holding the Russian nationality to vote in Russian missions on the Ukrainian territories only if Moscow cancels elections in Crimea Republic and Sevastopol.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister believes that holding elections in Crimea opposes Ukrainian laws.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Mariana Betsa reiterated the same position, saying that Russian elections will not be held on Ukrainian territories. She also urged Russian authorities to respect her county’s laws and legislations.

The Ukrainian position triggered a violent reaction from Moscow. Dmitry Sergeyevich Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, announced that his country doesn’t intend to discuss the election matter on its territories or to accept any conditions from any country.

He stressed that conditions set by Ukraine will not be taken seriously.

From its part, the Duma has described Kiev’s position as a new attack against Russia that opposes international laws and legislations; Leonid Slutsky, chairperson of the Russian State Duma Committee, accused the Ukrainian authorities of preventing more than 80,000 Russian citizens from practicing their rights and participating in the elections.

The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation has announced that the Ukrainian position will not be taken seriously and has urged Russian voters to visit the electoral centers on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border to practice their democratic right.

Observers have warned of more tension between Russia and Ukraine amid the insistence of both countries to hold onto their positions. They also considered that Ukraine can’t obstruct the Russian elections in Crimea, but can prevent Russian citizens on its territories from voting, a move that would provoke Moscow’s anger.

Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has stuck to a neutral position.

OSCE refused to send its observers to monitor the electoral operation in Crimea given that all European member states in the organization have not justified Russia’s control on Crimea and have called for its return to Ukrainian authorities.