CRIMEA, RUSSIA - JULY 17, 2019: An aerial image of the town of Sudak, on Crimea's Black Sea coast, at dawn. Sergei Malgavko/TASS

KIEV, /TASS/

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has voiced protest over the local elections held in Crimea on Sunday, calling on international partners to step up pressure on Russia.

“The outcome of this illegal voting is null and void. It won’t have any legal aftermath and won’t be recognized by Ukraine and the international community,” the ministry said in a statement, noting that all organizations responsible for holding this “illegal voting” would be held accountable under Ukraine’s legislation.

The ministry has called on “international partners to give a principal evaluation to Russia’s illegal steps on organizing and holding” local elections in Crimea and “increase pressure on Russia.”

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the authorities that came to power amid riots during the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaty on March 18, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia. The United States and the European Union slapped economic sanctions in 2014.

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