The Central Election Commission / Photo from UNIAN

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has denied registration to the citizens of the Russian Federation nominated by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) as international observers at the presidential elections in Ukraine on March 31.

CEC members took the respective decision at a meeting on Wednesday, March 20, an UNIAN correspondent said.

Read also"Unprecedented" number of observers registered for upcoming presidential election in Ukraine – CEC

CEC Secretary Natalia Bernatska said the commission received an application from the OSCE/ODIHR on March 15 to register 24 citizens of the Russian Federation as official observers at the presidential elections in Ukraine.

She stressed that, according to Ukrainian laws, an international observer cannot be a person who is a citizen of an aggressor or invader state.

Thus, the Central Election Commission refused to register Russian citizens as OSCE/ODIHR observers.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, on February 7 prohibited citizens of the Russian Federation from being official observers at presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Ukraine.

In turn, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said she was disappointed at the decision. According to her, the ban on Russian observers is contrary to the obligations of Ukraine to the OSCE and its member states.

On February 6, Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted it would not accept applications from Russian citizens for registration as official observers at the upcoming elections in Ukraine. The ministry said the decision is not contrary to Ukraine's international obligations in the area of free and democratic elections.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promised to order the State Border Service of Ukraine to ban observers from the Russian Federation from entering Ukraine.

In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry on February 8 announced it had decided to refrain from sending Russian citizens to Ukraine to work as long-term observers in Ukraine.

On February 27, the OSCE/ODIHR announced they would submit to Ukraine a list of short-term observers for accreditation from all participating countries, including Russia. Short-term observers should arrive in Ukraine a few days prior to the vote and observe the voting process directly.

On March 15, ODIHR Spokesperson Thomas Rymer said in an exclusive comment to UNIAN that the OSCE/ODIHR presidential election observation mission in Ukraine had submitted a list of 24 Russian citizens to the CEC for accreditation as election observers in Ukraine.