DONETSK, November 5 (RIA Novosti) – The chairman of the election commission at polling station No125 in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk has confirmed that the voting place had been inspected by alleged OSCE observers a day before the local vote took place last Sunday.
A RIA Novosti correspondent in Donetsk reported on Saturday that together with the correspondents from other news outlets he observed two people, who were wearing blue cloaks with OSCE written on them and presented their badges, as they entered the school that was used as a polling location.
“The CEC [Central Election Commission] informed me a day before the vote that we could get a visit by international observers. Two OSCE observers came the next day, presented their IDs, inspected the polling station, the info board, voting booths, and asked a couple of questions,” commission’s chief Dmitry Kirichenko said.
He told RIA Novosti that the alleged observers asked how voting lists were compiled. “They said they were going to inspect several more polling stations in other parts of the city,” Kirichenko added.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has denied sending its observers to monitor the elections.
“No OSCE #observation of so-called ‘elections’ in east #Ukraine Sunday 2 November and no OSCE monitors at polling stations,” the security organization said on Saturday on its Twitter account.
In the run-up to the east Ukrainian vote, it also said on Facebook that, “There will be no observation of the so-called elections on November 2 by any OSCE body. OSCE monitors will perform their normal duties across the entire country. 100 SMM monitors in the east will be observing the general security situation, establishing facts on the ground and reporting,” the organization said.
It also stressed that elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics must be held in “full accordance” with the Minsk protocol and with Ukrainian laws.
It emerged previously that ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections a team of OSCE observers visited a polling station in Donetsk School No 1. Russian journalists who watch the exit of Park Inn – a hotel that OSCE observers settle in when coming to Donetsk – said they saw two people with blue badges and cloaks emblazoned with OSCE insignia came out of the hotel and went to the polling station nearby.
The journalists followed them to the school as it was preparing to house the elections. The supposed OSCE observers were stopped by a guard at the entrance who said they could interfere with preparations since they had no accreditation of the central election commission.
Journalists said they failed to verify this visit with the OSCE as the security organization is known for its reluctance to have contacts with the media.
On November 2, the regions voted in the presidential and parliamentary elections that Kiev said it would never recognize.