Ukraine won't let Russians vote in presidential election

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A paramilitary nationalist group "National Squads" will not let Russian presidential polls to be held in Ukraine.

The ministry recalled that according to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry note No. 610/23-110-236 of February 21, 2018, Ukraine had expressed a strong protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry and demanded that the Russian presidential election be not held on March 18, 2018 in Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied by Russia - the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

"Challenging borders by force is contrary to global law, including commitments made by the Russian Federation", the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

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Earlier in the day, Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Kiev would not allow Russian citizens to visit Russian diplomatic missions on the territory of Ukraine to vote in the Sunday presidential election.

"We stand behind those courageous individuals who continue to speak out about these abuses and we call on Russian Federation to cease its attempts to quell fundamental freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and religion or belief", Nauert's statement said.

Security and police forces blocked access to Russian embassies and consulates in Kiev, Odesa, Lviv, and Kharkiv. "We reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders".

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It is Russia's first presidential election since the annexation, which prompted pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine to take up arms against the state, sparking a conflict that has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

"Ukraine's interior ministry states that conducting illegal elections on Ukraine's sovereign territory in violation of all norms of worldwide law is unacceptable", Avakov said on Facebook.

Russian Federation will "feel the painful consequences of sanctions and isolation" unless it returns to complying with global law, the Polish foreign ministry said on Friday, four years after Moscow annexed Crimea. The Russian president signed the reunification deals on March 18, 2014.

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