The head of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission to the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Jan Petersen, has refused to answer the question of whether the observers will be sent to the occupied Crimea.
As a UNIAN correspondent in Russia reported, at a press conference in Moscow, Petersen said, “We are currently working on where our observers will be sent, so at the moment I'm not going to answer this question... We can't say anything specific about where the observers will be sent," Petersen said.
He also refused to answer whether it can be confirmed that there is a possibility of sending OSCE/ODHIR observers to the occupied Crimea. "I think I clearly answered this question," Petersen said.
He also did not answer questions regarding the status of the OSCE/ODIHR mission regarding four deputies that will be elected to the State Duma in elections scheduled for September 18, 2016 in the occupied Crimea.
Petersen said that the mission arrived in Russia with the goal of observing the elections, ensure that they reflect the OSCE/ODIHR standards and comply with the commitments taken on by the OSCE countries, including Russia. "I would like to emphasize that we have standards and methodologies that are applied to all OSCE countries, including yours [Russian Federation]," he added.
According to Petersen, it is important to understand that the role of the mission is to monitor the electoral process and to submit a report, not to intervene. "We are not interested in the results - we are interested in the process - that it is transparent and carried out in accordance with OSCE standards. We will not provide any ongoing reviews during the elections," the head of the OSCE/ODIHR mission stated.