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The sanctions are targeting 86 Russians involved in the Russian parliamentary election, which is also being held in Crimea and the Donbas.

The Russian parliamentary election is underway and is attracting much attention around the world. Ukraine is also watching carefully, as the election is also taking place in Donbas and Crimea, according to several reports from Russian media outlets, writes Kyiv Post

The paper quotes several Russian media outlets that described how Ukrainian citizens have been given Russian passports and have been brought out to vote. Among other things, Kyiv Post writes that the leader of Russia-backed Donbas militants, Denis Pushilin, has said that more than 800 bus and train trips have been carrying people back and forth. 

“Since August, 396 information centers have been opened, which explain to Ukrainian citizens, who now have passports of the Russian Federation, how to vote for them. Ukrainians living in the occupied territories of some districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have already been issued about 600,000 passports,” said Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsperson, Liudmyla Denisova, according to Kanaldom.  

“First of all, they are teachers, medical workers. These are the people who work in these bodies of power. They are forced because they need to work somewhere in order to feed their families,” Denisova added. 

Crimea was annexed by Russia back in 2014, where a war also broke out between Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine. 

More than 14,000 people have lost their lives in the war, and the international community considers both territories for Ukrainian and has called for Russia to withdraw. Russia has, in contrast, argued that Crimea is Russian and that what is happening in Donbas is a civil war in Ukraine and not a result of Russian interference. 

Ukraine imposes sanctions on Russians

As a result of the events in Donbas and Crimea, the National Security and Defense Council on Sept. 17 decided to impose sanction on 86 Russians, who Ukraine claim has been involved in having the Russian parliamentary elections in Crimea and the Donbas. 

Kyiv Post writes that the list includes “33 State Duma (Russian parliament) candidates and 53 Russian territorial electoral commission members.” The list may be expanded later on, said Oleksiy Danilov, the Security Council Secretary in Ukraine. 

There hasn’t been a direct answer from the Russian authorities, but Mikhail Malyshev, chairman of the regional election commission in Crimea, commented.

“For the past seven years, representatives of the neighboring country have been speaking about the illegitimacy of elections organized here and have been imposing sanctions. But, as you know, it has not changed the situation concerning the organization of elections, referendums, voting on the constitution,” said Malyshev, according to Tass

“As far as I know, they said today that a criminal case against me is being heard in Ukraine, but sanctions against myself have no impact on the work of the electoral system in Russia and the Republic of Crimea as its part,” Malyshev said.