Russia Angry, Accuses Ukraine of Election Sabotage – 2024-03-19 08:30:52

Russia accused Ukraine of using “terrorist” means to try to disrupt its presidential election.(AFP)

RUSSIA accused Ukraine of using “terrorist” means to try to disrupt its presidential election. Meanwhile former president Dmitry Medvedev denounced the protesters who tried to burn down voting booths and pour dye into ballot boxes as “traitors”.

The war in Ukraine has overshadowed voting in a presidential election that will surely reinstate Vladimir Putin for another six years in the Kremlin, but has been marred by sporadic protests.

On the second of three days of voting, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Kyiv had “intensified terrorist activities” in connection with the election. They also showed their activities to Western countries and asked for more financial assistance and arms support.

It said in one of the incidents, a Ukrainian drone dropped a bomb on a polling station in the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine.

The state-run TASS news agency quoted a local election official as reporting no damage or injuries when the explosive device landed five or six meters from a building housing a polling station before it opened in a village about 20 km east of the town of Enerhodar.

While this report cannot independently verify the incident. There was no immediate comment from officials in Ukraine, who consider the election taking place in Russian-controlled territory illegal and illegitimate.

Also read: 1 Killed in Drone Attack on Russian Oil Refinery

Meanwhile, KPU Chair Ella Pamfilova said that in the first two days of voting, there had been 20 incidents of residents trying to damage the ballot sheets by pouring various liquids into the ballot boxes, as well as eight cases of attempted arson. and smoke bombs.

Commenting on the incident, Medvedev said those found guilty could face a treason sentence of up to 20 years.

“This is direct aid to the degenerates attacking our cities today,” he wrote on social media, referring to attacks in Ukraine.

Also read: Ukraine Bombards Russia, Vladimir Putin Threatens to Counterattack

On the final day of voting on Sunday, supporters of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny called on the public to turn out en masse at noon in protests against Putin in each of the country’s 11 time zones.

Ukrainian attack

Russian media quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying Putin had received military reports in recent days about attempts to attack Russian territory in the Belgorod and Kursk border regions, including several attempted attacks overnight.

“All attacks were thwarted,” the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Also read: Alexei Navalny Ghosts Vladimir Putin in the Russian Presidential Election

A Ukrainian missile attack killed two people, and a separate drone strike torched an oil refinery on Saturday.

In the Belgorod region where cross-border attacks from Ukraine have become part of daily life, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported the death of a man and a woman, and later in the day, one person injured, after he said Russian defense forces shot down 15 rockets in the area. that region. their approach to the regional capital.

Video footage shows fires raging and air raid sirens heard on the empty streets of the city of Belgorod.

Also read: Ukraine begins building defensive fortifications

The governor of the Samara region, Dmitry Azarov, said the Syzran refinery caught fire but an attack on a second refinery was thwarted.

The fire was brought under control hours later, officials said, but the incident highlighted Ukraine’s ability to strike hundreds of kilometers inside Russia to target its energy industry. Two other large refineries were burned down earlier this week by drone strikes that halted half or more of their production.

Gladkov from the Belgorod region said that, given the “current situation”, schools in most of the region would be closed on Monday and Tuesday, and shopping centers in the city of Belgorod would be closed on Sunday and Monday.

Also read: Russian troops push back Ukrainian soldiers

Russia launched its deadliest attack in weeks on Friday when its missiles hit residential areas in the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odesa, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 70.

Putin’s domination

Putin’s power is unwavering in elections, at 71 years old and serving as president or prime minister since the last days of 1999, he dominates Russia’s political landscape.

None of the other three candidates on the ballot, namely veteran Communist Nikolai Kharitonov, nationalist Leonid Slutsky or Vladislav Davankov, deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament have mounted a credible challenge.

Also read: Russian Attack in Ukraine: Zelensky Vows Strong Response after 18 Citizens Killed

Overall voter turnout rose above 58% on the second day of voting.

This figure in the Belgorod region is more than 76%. Voter turnout was also high in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine.

Pamfilova, the top election official, said people who tried to disrupt the vote were “scumbags” and could face up to five years in prison.

Also read: 27 Residents Killed During Deadly Attack in Donetsk

He said, without providing evidence, that Ukrainian intelligence and its “accomplices and accomplices” were behind many of the protests seen so far at polling stations.

Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, said it was facing widespread denial-of-service attacks, or cyberattacks aimed at crippling web traffic, so it had suspended non-essential services to prevent them.

State news agency RIA quoted a senior telecommunications official as blaming the cyberattack on Ukraine and Western countries. (CNA/Z-3)

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