Kiev launched a special military operation in southeast Ukraine in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government https://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/otp/161114-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf.T
he 2014 presidential election in Ukraine was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and respecting fundamental freedoms, despite the hostile security environment in two eastern regions of the country. According to the OSCE (of which Russia is a participating State) "the people of Ukraine had the opportunity to genuinely express their will at the ballot box" bit.ly/1hqcDuR, . Similarly, Ukraine’s local elections in October 2015 were competitive and generally showed respect for the democratic process bit.ly/1VUL9V5, .