The Department of State representative Mark Toner stated that Sunday's parliamentary elections in Ukraine "represented a step back from the progress that has been observed during the last parliamentary elections and the presidential elections in 2010, marked an important step taken by Ukraine in the direction of democracy. "
"We share the concern voiced in today's preliminary report of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly," said Toner.
The State Department official said that the concern in this context in particular was caused by "the use of government resources to support pro-government candidates, interfere in the media's ability to access information and persecution of opposition candidates."
Despite the fact that the election day was rather peaceful and the process was observed by numerous local and international observers, we are concerned about the information regarding fraud in the course of voting, difference between preliminary CEC data and parallel vote counting as well as CEC's decision not to publish results," continued Toner.
"We also want to repeat that we are deeply concerned about politically motivated sentencing of opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was not given the opportunity to participate in these elections," he said.
The U.S. State Department once again urged the Ukrainian government to "stop the selective prosecution of political opponents."
"The United States will continue supporting the striving of the Ukrainian people to live in a prosperous, democratic Ukraine," said Toner.
"We regret the fact that these elections have not promoted Ukraine to that goal but we remain committed to working with Ukraine to improve democratic institutions, strengthening the rule of law and the promotion of the necessary economic reforms," he concluded.