A senior State Duma deputy has called on Europe to ban Texas' top prosecutor for refusing to allow election observers from Russia and other OSCE member states to monitor the presidential vote next week.
Sergei Zheleznyak, a Duma deputy speaker and United Russia member, said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott should face sanctions on a "position of principle."
"As a co-chairman of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, I call on the members of the European Parliament to assess the words of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has threatened to arrest OSCE members should they approach polling stations closer than 30 meters," Zheleznyak told reporters Monday, according to RIA-Novosti.
Zheleznyak said the European Parliament should demonstrate impartiality by applying the same standards to monitoring the U.S. elections as it does to elections in other countries, including Russia.
In a letter to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Abbott made it clear that foreign election observers "are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place."
Janez Lenarcic, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which monitors elections, fired back with a statement, saying, "The threat of criminal sanctions against observers is unacceptable."
The U.S. State Department has invited the OSCE to monitor elections since 2002.
Zheleznyak's call for Abbott to be placed on a blacklist comes as Russia bristles at U.S. and European Parliament initiatives to ban Russian officials in connection with the 2009 prison death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other cases associated with human rights violations.