The President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Leendert Verbeek, condemns the decision of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation to organise local elections in the illegally annexed Ukrainian territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. It constitutes a flagrant violation of international law which Russia continues to disregard, as it was the case with the pseudo-referendums last year. These territories are and will remain an integral part of Ukraine.
In addition, holding local elections in occupied territories only creates an illusion of democracy but clearly violates the right of citizens to participate in the conduct of local public affairs.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe reiterates its commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognised borders, and will continue to extend its unwavering support to Ukraine and its people in their struggle against the aggressor.