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That would be a validation of the referendum that saw Crimea become part of Russian Federation four years ago after the territory was annexed from Ukraine.

Only diplomats will have access to Russian diplomatic institutions in Ukraine during the Russian presidential election on March 18, whereas other individuals and Russian citizens will not be permitted to enter diplomatic institutions, according to a statement by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry due to the Russian presidential election scheduled for March 18, which Interior Minister Arsen Avakov posted on his Facebook page.

Russia's diplomatic establishments in Ukraine are located in four cities - Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa and Lviv.

Members of Ukrainian national groups were reported to have gathered on a street near the Russian Embassy in the Ukrainian capital.

"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.

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More than 40 worldwide observers from 20 countries, including from Israel, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, Norway, Denmark and Ukraine, will cover the presidential election in Crimea.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it reiterated Latvia's "principled position on the issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine" and furthermore condemned the Russian Federation's "aggression in the east of Ukraine and stands up for maintaining European Union sanctions till the full implementation of the Minsk agreements". "By its actions, the Russian Federation has violated worldwide law and basic principles of relations between countries", the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement marking the anniversary.

Ukrainian authorities explained their decision by Russia's plans to organize the electoral process in Crimea, which Kiev considers an occupied territory.

Russians are to vote for their next president on Sunday.


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