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3 Apr, 2024 21:37

Moscow appeals to UN over ‘foreign interference’ in election

Russian lawmakers have called on international bodies and foreign parliaments to condemn attempts to disrupt the recent vote
Moscow appeals to UN over ‘foreign interference’ in election

The US led a coordinated effort aimed at interfering in the Russian presidential election in March, lawmakers in Moscow said in an appeal to the UN published on Wednesday. The document condemns the actions of the “Collective West” and calls on international bodies and foreign parliaments to denounce the alleged attempts to disrupt the vote.

The campaign started months before the election, according to the appeal, which was penned by Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of the parliament. It points to statements made by Western officials and documents adopted by Western bodies that described the election as illegitimate, even before any voting took place.

The Russian document specifically mentions a resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in October 2023 and statements made by EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola in February 2024.

The October PACE resolution called Russia a “de facto dictatorship” and urged Council of Europe member states “to recognize [President] Vladimir Putin as illegitimate” regardless of the outcome of the vote, and to “cease all contact with him, except for humanitarian contact and in the pursuit of peace.”

In February, Metsola told the US state-funded broadcaster RFE/RL that the EU parliament “would never recognize” the results of Russia’s 2024 election.

Attempts at interference continued during the three days of voting, the appeal said, adding that calls for protest actions and outright illegal acts were spread “from abroad.” Appeals posted on social media “provoked gross violations of the law in a number of Russian regions,” the document added.

The head of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC), Ella Pamfilova, reported almost 30 cases of attacks on ballot boxes in 20 Russian regions during the vote. In eight cases, suspects tried to set the boxes on fire; in other instances, there were attempts to pour dyed liquids inside . The incidents resulted in a total of 214 ballots being “irreversibly damaged,” Pamfilova said at the time.

She also said the Russian electronic voting system faced around 160,000 hacking attacks during the election. The Russian security services also reported hacking attacks on various government systems before the vote. According to the lawmakers’ appeal, “more than 12 million cyberattacks” against the CEC website were organized and carried out before and during the election.

Ukraine, which is actively backed by Western nations in its conflict with Russia, resorted to brute force in its attempts to disrupt the vote in the Russian regions bordering its territory, the document states. Kiev’s forces “actively used unmanned aerial vehicles carrying explosives” in attacks targeting civilian infrastructure during the election, it added.

Russian electoral commissions in Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions reported several Ukrainian attacks targeting polling stations, including drone strikes and shelling, during the weekend the election was held. The attacks led to some injuries, the reports said at the time.

Wednesday’s letter of appeal also notes that a major terrorist attack in Moscow Region that claimed the lives of more than 140 people took place just a day after the votes were counted. Moscow has not officially named the suspected organizers of the assault on the Crocus City Hall concert venue, but Russian security services have pointed to links between the suspects and Ukraine.

The actions of the US and its allies ahead of and during the vote show that Washington and its allies “grossly violated” international law, the UN Charter, and several major conventions prohibiting foreign interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign nations, the document stated.

The Federation Council “calls on the United Nations, international parliamentary organizations, and parliaments of foreign states to condemn the actions of the Collective West that are coordinated by Washington,” it said. It also praised the stance of “the international majority,” which refused to join the US and its allies in denouncing Russia’s general election.