Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Questions 'Unusual' Ukraine Election if Troops Deployed

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaking with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Vienna.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday it would be "unusual" to hold a presidential election in Ukraine while the Army was being deployed against Ukrainians.

Lavrov's comments, after a meeting of the Council of Europe human rights organization in Vienna, suggested Moscow could be preparing a reason to question the legitimacy of the May 25 election if it is unhappy with the outcome.

"Holding elections at a time when the Army is deployed against part of the population is quite unusual," he told a news conference in response to a question about whether Moscow would recognize the vote. "We will see how this process ends."

Lavrov said Ukraine should agree a new constitution to define presidential powers before people cast their ballots.

Russia annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine in March and does not recognize the government that took power in February after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president was ousted.

The West accuses Moscow of trying to destabilize its fellow former Soviet republic by fomenting separatist unrest in the Russian-speaking east, which could also be used by Russia as possible grounds to withhold recognition of the election.

Russia denies the accusations and says the West and the new, pro-Europe authorities in Kiev have aggravated the crisis.

Asked about a German proposal to hold a second international meeting on Ukraine, Lavrov said the agreements reached during the first round of talks in Geneva had still not been implemented.

"Meeting in the same format, when the opposition to the current Ukrainian regime will be absent at the negotiating table, would hardly add [anything]," he said.

"One could possibly do it but we would be going round in circles, again saying that one needs to carry out what we had agreed on. And it is the Ukrainians who should deliver, both the regime and those opposing it."

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more