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Russian election authorities on Monday said balloting in next year’s presidential election will be conducted in four partially occupied Ukrainian regions that Moscow illegally annexed in 2022 following its invasion.

The Central Election Commission adopted the decree to proceed with the vote in the Russian-controlled parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Balloting will also take place in the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Lawmakers in Russia on Thursday set the 2024 presidential election for March 17. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his candidacy and is all but certain to win another six-year term.


Head of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said last week that the commission would make a separate decision on whether to hold the vote in the four partially controlled Ukrainian regions because martial law is in place in those areas. Russian lawmakers earlier this year amended regulations to allow elections in territories where martial law is in place.

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with the heads of delegations to the 18th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Security and Intelligence Agencies of the Commonwealth of Independent States members via video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Sept. 29, 2022. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian authorities held elections in the annexed regions in September for Moscow-installed legislatures. Ukraine and its Western allies denounced them as a sham.

Ukraine has condemned Russia‚Äôs intention to organize presidential election voting in occupied Ukrainian territory. Its foreign ministry said any such balloting in the occupied regions would be “null and void” and said any international observers sent to monitor the Russian election would “face criminal responsibility.”


The foreign ministry urged the international community to condemn Russia’s intentions and to impose sanctions on those involved.

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