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Russian Elections: Observers, journalists counter reports on voters intimidation in Donbas

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Election observers and foreign journalists who participated in the Russian Presidential election have countered reports making the rounds that electorates were intimidated by Russian forces to vote in Donbass.

Reports had earlier alleged that Ukrainians in territories occupied by the Russian military were forced to vote in the presidential election under the watch of heavily armed, masked soldiers.

According to the reports, the armed security forces were accompanying election officials going from house to house, knocking on doors as they sought to compel people to vote in the election.

However, speaking at a press conference in Danbass on Monday, some of the observers and journalists said the reports were untrue.

Clarisse Wiydorven, an African journalist who claimed to have visited Donbass at least three times during the polls, countered the reports by Western media outlets, stressing that the election was peaceful in Donbass.

According to Clarisse, the reports have “raised questions about the Western media’s role in promoting global peace and democracy through unbiased news reporting”.

Condemning the report, she said, “Unfortunately, Moscow foresaw this and made it a priority to deploy international observers and even foreigners in the new regions and across the country to assess the voting process independently and provide comments on the elections.”

Also commenting on the conduct of the electoral process in the Russian Federation, Dr Rashied Pelpuo, former Ghanaian Minister of State, said, “I have witnessed an election taking place. I observed the entire process, from beginning to end.

“In fact, I visited more than a dozen polling stations in various cities and noticed that the process for universal suffrage had been remarkably transparent.

“I was shocked by the process because I was unaware of the strong universal approach to democracy that exists in Russia until I witnessed the elections firsthand.

“I could see the enthusiasm of the population and the significance they attached to the process”.

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