Sen. Ayotte Blames Putin for Election Problems in Eastern Ukraine
The Wall Street Journal: Asia
By Jay Solomon
A top U.S. lawmaker blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for the disruption of electoral polling in eastern Ukraine, as the Obama administration closely watched for the results from the presidential vote in the former Soviet state.
The U.S. and its European allies have threatened to impose new economic sanctions on the Kremlin and Mr. Putin’s closes allies if they’re judged to have played a role in seriously undermining Sunday’s elections.
“Obviously [in] Donetsk, Luhansk, the security situation there is preventing many people from voting in those two regions,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I just want to make clear there’s one person to blame for that security situation, and that’s Vladimir Putin because he’s had strategic control of what is happening there.”
Ms. Ayotte is among thousands of international monitors who are monitoring the Ukraine vote.
The U.S. and European Union have imposed a string of sanctions on Russian government officials and businessmen following Russia’s formal annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine in late March. Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy jointly announced earlier this month that the success or failure of Sunday’s vote would be used to gauge if more sanctions on Russia would be imposed.