The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry recommended Ukrainians living on Russian territory - there are about 3 million of them, according to various assessments - to vote at their places of registration in their motherland.
"The Ukrainian citizens who are temporarily staying in Russia are recommended to vote at their places of registration in their motherland," the ministry said in response to an information request from the Ukrainian National News agency, TASS reports.
The Foreign Ministry explained the recommendation by security concerns. In light of this, the ministry reiterated that all five foreign voting stations that had been established on a permanent basis in Russia were closed earlier "to provide security." In particular, there will be no foreign voting stations in the Ukrainian Embassy in Russia (Moscow), Consulate General in Rostov-on-Don, Consulate General in St. Petersburg, Consulate in Yekaterinburg and the Consulate in Novosibirsk.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) also extended the borders of three voting stations in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Finland. The voting stations that were closed in Russia joined these three ones. Thus, Ukrainians living in Russia will be able to vote either in their motherland or in Ukrainian embassies in Tbilisi (Georgia), Astana (Kazakhstan), and Helsinki (Finland).
Ukrainian experts and opposition members repeatedly stressed that the CEC’s decision violates the Ukrainian Constitution and the basic human rights. Leader of the Opposition Platform - For Life, Verkhovna Rada member Yuri Boiko highlighted that the CEC’s decision demonstrates the preparation of the current authorities to the massive forging of the presidential election that is set for March 31, 2019.
The removal of the voting stations in Russia leaves the Ukrainians who had to go abroad due to unemployment in their motherland and do not support the current authorities outside the election, he said. Representatives for the Opposition Platform - For Life appealed the CEC’s decision in Ukrainian courts, but their appeal was rejected and the CEC’s decision was recognized as lawful.
So, on January 10 Ukraine’s Supreme Court left the CEC’s decision unchanged, stating that the CEC’s decision violated the rights of the citizens, but not to the extent which would make it necessary to recognize the decision as illegal.