MOSCOW, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Russia will not send representatives to join an observers' mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor Ukraine's upcoming presidential election, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday, citing security reasons.
It said in a statement that Ukraine had refused to accredit Russian citizens, who were to arrive in Ukraine as part of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) mission to monitor the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine.
"Under these conditions, the Russian side, for reasons of security of our representatives in the ODIHR observation mission, decided to refrain from sending them to Ukraine," the ministry said.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin sent a letter to ODIHR in January calling for a rejection of applications from Russia's monitoring mission for the elections slated for March 31 this year.
On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill banning Russian observers from monitoring the election.
ODIHR Director Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir sent a letter to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressing her regret over the decision by the Ukrainian authorities to block Russian citizens from taking part in the ODIHR observation mission.
Moscow regards Ukraine's refusal as a gross violation of international obligations, the Russian ministry said in the statement.
It said the move by Ukraine inflicts significant damage to the image of ODIHR, which has positioned itself as a guardian of the golden standard of electoral monitoring principles.
The absence of Russian observers in these monitoring missions raises questions about the transparency and objectivity of the results of the forthcoming elections in Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said.