Brussels, 13 May 2014 - NATO PA President Hugh Bayley has dismissed the so-called referendums organized this weekend by separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine as illegal and illegitimate and says that the real expression of democracy in Ukraine will come with the Presidential Election on 25 May. //
“The votes on 12 May in Donetsk and Luhansk were ‘Potemkin Referendums’ devoid of substance and legitimacy. Separatist forces misrepresent and manipulate the sentiments of the local population. Statements calling on Russia to consider the annexation of parts of Eastern Ukraine only add to this farce”, said Mr Bayley.
“Ukrainians should be allowed to determine their own future through democratic elections conducted according to international standards under the eyes of national and international observers. All Ukrainians should be allowed to participate in those votes without fear of intimidation”, Mr Bayley added.
“The NATO Parliamentary Assembly will be participating in the international election monitoring mission for the Ukrainian Presidential elections taking place on 25 May, and the citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk should have the right to express their democratic will. Only those who fear the result and wish to deny Ukraine an independent, democratic future will object to that election taking place throughout Ukraine”, Mr Bayley noted.
Mr Bayley welcomed the EU Foreign Ministers’ decision on 12 May to broaden the criteria for implementing sanctions and to add thirteen further individuals and two entities on the sanctions list.
“Europe and North America must continue to respond with one voice to continued efforts to derail the democratic process in Ukraine and to the persistent disdain shown by Russia and separatist forces for initiatives aimed at de-escalation. The Foreign Ministers’ decision is a welcome step, but we must remain vigilant and prepared to take further measures as necessary”, he commented.