Brussels (dpa) – The European Union on Monday condemned Russia’s holding of “so-called ‘elections'” in occupied territories in Ukraine, following Moscow’s announcement that Russian President Vladimir Putin had won a landslide victory.

“The European Union strongly condemns the illegal holding of so-called ‘elections’ in the territories of Ukraine that Russia has temporarily occupied,” the statement said, referring to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Moscow in violation of international law back in 2014, as well as the mainland regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson.

“The European Union reiterates that it does not and will never recognise either the holding of these so-called ‘elections’ in the territories of Ukraine or their results,” said the statement, issued by foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU.

It said the elections “are null and void and cannot produce any legal effect whatsoever.”

The statement also said that “the shocking death of opposition politician Alexei Navalny in the run up to the elections is yet another sign of the accelerating and systematic repression.” (18 March)

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