The central election commission said on Monday that four Ukrainian regions that Russia annexed last year will take part in Russia’s presidential election in March 2024, according to Interfax news agency.
Ukraine denounced any Russian vote in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions as invalid and illegal, and vowed to prosecute any observers who would oversee the voting.
The Kremlin considers it vital to hold the election in its “new territories”, but it faces difficulties in organizing and securing the vote, as Russian troops do not have full control over the four regions.
Russia imposed martial law on the areas it occupies. Ukraine and most of the United Nations General Assembly members condemned Russia’s annexation claim as unlawful, after it invaded Ukraine seven months earlier.
President Vladimir Putin announced last Friday, in remarks to Russian soldiers who have participated in the Ukraine conflict, that he will seek another term in the March election, where he has no real challengers.