MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) – A draft UN report on human rights in Ukraine reportedly acquired by US-based political magazine Foreign Policy claims Russia “rigged” the referendum in Crimea, the news outlet said on its website.
The draft report, written by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic, alleges the Russian government actively repressed the possibility of dissent or anti-Russian sentiment in the run-up to the referendum.
“The delegation met with sources who claimed that there had been alleged cases of non-Ukrainian citizens participating in the referendum as well as individuals voting numerous times in different locations,” said an excerpt of the draft report published by Foreign Policy last Thursday, referring to allegations of Russia’s multiple efforts to “rig” the vote results in Crimea.
The incriminating leak followed a series of Western claims denouncing Russia’s position on Ukraine and dismissing the results of the referendum as illegitimate. The draft document states “the referendum on March 16 raised a number of concerns in terms of respect for human rights.”
Simonovic did not conclude that the results of the referendum would have been different if Russia had made no attempts “to influence the vote.”
The finalized version of the UN report will be released to the public during a presentation to the Security Council on April 15.
A referendum held on March 16 in the predominantly Russian peninsula saw almost 97 percent of voters support reunification with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on March 21 to ratify the reunification treaties with the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which has a special status within the region.
Although widely denounced by the West, the referendum in Crimea was fully compliant with international law and must be recognized as legitimate, according to the Russian government.
Following the results of the referendum, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated Russia has no intentions or interests whatsoever in crossing the Ukrainian border, dismissing Western allegations of a military incursion into Ukraine. Lavrov insisted the West should recognize its own responsibility for the atrocities committed in the country, calling for a “collective and sincere” effort to resolve the standoff.