The European Union does not recognize the illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea by Russia, therefore it does not recognize the Russian presidential elections in the peninsula.

"The European Union does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and therefore does not recognise the holding of elections in the Crimean peninsula," the EU spokesperson said in a statement on March 19 on the presidential elections in the Russian Federation, held on March 18.

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"The OSCE/ODIHR observers did not conduct any activities in these illegally-annexed territories, participation of EU Member States' diplomats in observation activities within the framework of the OSCE/ODIHR EOM [Election Observation Mission] was also limited to the recognised territory of the Russian Federation. The EU remains unwavering in its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," the statement said.

According to the preliminary findings of the internationally-recognised OSCE/ODIHR EOM, the elections were conducted in an overly controlled legal and political environment, marked by continued pressure on critical voices.

The OSCE/ODIHR EOM recorded restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association and expression, as well as on candidate registration, which limited the space for political engagement, resulting in a lack of genuine competition.

As also noted by the observers, extensive and uncritical coverage of the incumbent by the media resulted in an uneven playing field, efforts to increase the turnout predominated over the campaign of the contestants, and a number of activists who questioned the legitimacy of the elections were detained.

Overall, the OSCE/ODIHR EOM recognised that elections were administered efficiently and openly by the Central Electoral Commission and, on the day, conducted in an orderly manner despite shortcomings related to vote secrecy and transparency of counting.

During the recent elections, the incumbent Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has been elected for the fourth six-year term.