Putin to allow Russian elections next year in occupied Ukraine

November 14, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin cleared the way Tuesday for voting to take place in occupied regions of Ukraine next year—even as Russia’s invasion of its sovereign neighbor forced Ukraine its own national elections. 

The virtually certain reelection of Putin, whose been Russia’s tacit or official leader since New Year’s Eve 1999, would allow him to stay in power through at least 2030. 

Putin has not officially announced his reelection campaign, but he has reportedly decided to do so, and is expected to make a formal announcement on March 17 ahead of Russia’s Election Day, which is December 13, 2024.

Defying international law, in September 2022 the Kremlin unilaterally claimed as “new territories” of Russia the four Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, along with Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. 

This September, Russia held sham elections in the occupied territories for Russian regional leadership positions. At the time, officials in Ukraine pointed to the move as evidence of why Kyiv cannot currently enter into peace negotiations with Moscow. 

Ukraine additionally asserts that conducting 2024 Russian Presidential elections in the occupied territories further suggests Putin is intent on making the illegal annexations irreversible—and that the Kremlin would use the elections to take the territories’ return off the negotiating table in any future peace talks. 

Ukraine’s own President election was due to be held in March, but its constitution prohibits elections to be held while the nation is under martial law as voting—even for Ukrainian officials—would be compromised in the occupied territories, not to mention that millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by the war. 

PHOTO: Aid truck in Kherson, Ukraine, November 2022

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