Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1216th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 7 February 2019
The delegation of Ukraine takes note of the statement delivered by the Russian Permanent Representative. In response, we wish to draw attention to the following.
The registration of official observers from foreign states and international organizations is regulated by Article 70 of the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of the President of Ukraine”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is guided by the provisions of paragraph 8 of the 1990 Copenhagen Document, whereby the monitors are invited to observe the course of national election proceedings to the extent permitted by law.
The Law of Ukraine No. 2268-VIII of 8 January 2018 “On the peculiarities of State policy on ensuring Ukraine’s State sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions” recognizes Russia as an aggressor state and an occupying power. The UN General Assembly and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in their resolutions also recognized the Russian Federation as an occupying power.
Pursuant to the letter of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, addressed to ODIHR’s Director on 2 January 2019, inviting the OSCE ODIHR to observe the 2019 regular presidential elections in Ukraine, it was repeatedly reiterated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine will not accept for accreditation the applications from holders of Russian passports or forward them to CEC for registration as official observers.
This position is fully compliant with Ukraine’s OSCE commitments, international obligations, as well as principles for international election observation, enshrined in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers of 2005, endorsed by the OSCE ODIHR, the UN, the European Commission and many other important international institutions, stipulating, in particular, that “International election observation must be conducted with respect for the sovereignty of the country holding elections and with respect for the human rights of the people of the country”.
Yesterday in Kyiv a Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine met with the Head of the OSCE ODIHR election observation mission in Ukraine. The Deputy Foreign Minister stressed the priority significance for the Ukrainian side of ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and internationally recognized standards for democratic elections. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stands ready to provide necessary facilitation to the work of the OSCE ODIHR EOM. In this light it was emphasized that Ukraine is interested in the presence of as many independent and professional international observers as possible. We have confidence that official observers of the OSCE ODIHR mission will observe the sovereignty and laws of Ukraine as the hosting country, in full consistency with paragraph 9 of the mentioned Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.
We take note of and welcome the plans of ODIHR to deploy 850 international observers to monitor the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine. This number is significantly bigger than the number of observers requested by ODIHR for deployment for election observation in the Russian Federation last year. The OSCE ODIHR mission must have as many observers as needed to do the job professionally and objectively. Unlike Russia’s practices of restricting electoral observation, Ukraine is open and recognizing the importance of comprehensive electoral monitoring for enhancing the transparency and confidence in the process.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.