( AFP ) - The European Commission voiced regret Friday at the cancellation of an OSCE mission to observe Russian elections and urged President Vladimir Putin to ensure that the polls would be "democratic."
"We regret that the circumstances do not make it possible to have this election monitoring mission," Commission spokeswoman Christiane Hohmann told journalists in Brussels.
"We expect Russia to respect guarantees given by Vladimir Putin at the EU-Russia summit in Mafra ( Portugal) that the elections would be open and respect international standards for democratic elections," she added.
After weeks of uncertainty and tensions with Europe's main elections watchdog, Putin confirmed at the summit at the end of October that his country would invite OSCE observers to monitor parliamentary elections in December.
However earlier Friday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called off its observer mission to the December 2 polls, citing a lack of cooperation.
The OSCE and Russia, which is one of its 56 member states, have been locked in a war of words over monitoring the elections.
OSCE members are obliged to invite the organisation's Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to send election monitors to assess whether votes are free and fair.
After months of waiting for Moscow's invitation, the organisation finally received the formal green light on October 31.