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Sham Ukraine observer group 'undesirable'

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Sham Ukraine observer group 'undesirable'
Ewald Stadler. Photo: APA/Neubauer
10:26 CET+01:00
Ukraine's SBU security service has said that it will declare a former far-right Austrian politician who led a group of 'election observers' in polls held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine over the weekend as an “undesirable”.

About 30 observers from several European states, led by former member of the Austrian Freedom Party Ewald Stadler, entered separatist-held territory from Russia on Saturday.

After the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) refused to monitor the vote separatist officials began referring to the group of observers as the Agency for Security and Co-operation in Europe - which was supposedly founded by Stadler, who later admitted to journalists that it did not actually exist on paper.

Stadler changed the new organization’s name back and forth during a press conference, freely switching between calling it the Agency and the Association.

He also slammed Western governments for not respecting Sunday’s vote, and called for European countries to quit the OSCE and join his new group since the OSCE had allegedly shown its political bias by refusing to deploy observers to Donetsk and Lugansk for Sunday’s vote.

He was joined by other far-right MEPs who previously observed the referendum that led to Crimea's annexation by Russia in March.

The European Union has condemned the elections as "illegal" and the central government in Kiev called the polls a “farce”.

The SBU said that the “pseudo foreign observers have either already been declared as undesirables, or soon will be”. It said that they were guilty of “illegally supporting guerrillas and terrorists”.

Stadler was thrown out of the Freedom Party last year, and was found guilty in June of attempting to blackmail the party leader Heinz-Christian Strache.

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