The Russian military has once again called on the US troops in Syria to discuss the situation in the Rukban camp, where some 40,000 refugees are kept in dire conditions. The US side is directly responsible for the critical state of the settlement under its occupation and has ignored earlier appeals from Moscow and Damascus to disband the camp. The US command has previously delayed the delivery of humanitarian aid to Rukban and refused to allow, let alone facilitate, the refugees’ passage out of the camp. Russia and Syria, meanwhile, have jointly set up humanitarian corridors and a mobile checkpoint for that purpose.
Ukrainians voted in Presidential elections at gunpoint and accompanied by special forces. The Ukrainian government brought armoured vehicles and armed security officials to the streets in order to morally influence Ukrainians during the elections. Ukrainians themselves regarded this as an attempt to intimidate disloyal citizens and to demonstrate the readiness of the regime of Petro Poroshenko to intervene in the elections with force.
On the eve of the elections in Ukraine, the units of law enforcement were transferred to increased combat readiness, with the aim to ensure the safety of voters. It was announced long before the beginning of the elections. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, on March 31, more than 135,000 police officers ensured the safety of the electoral process. Two policing officers and one rescuer were on duty near each polling station. In the event of any offences in a polling station itself, only the Election Commission itself can take the decision to involve the police. The preliminary assessment of the freedom and accountability of the elections by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe is positive. This case is part of wider efforts of pro-Kremlin outlets to discredit Ukrainian elections. For more information see EUvsDisinfo coverage here and here.