Russia says ruling party wins most votes in Ukrainian regions it occupies. West calls elections sham

Russia’s Central Election Commission says the country’s ruling party won the most votes in elections held in occupied Ukrainian regions. Ukraine and Western countries say the elections are a sham. Russian authorities have been trying to tighten their grip on the territories Moscow illegally annexed a year ago but still does not fully control. Voting for Russia-installed legislatures began last week. According to the Central Election Commission, the ruling party, United Russia, came out on top in elections for lawmakers in the four Ukrainian regions, as well as the Crimean Peninsula, which the Kremlin annexed in 2014. Russian officials said the average turnout across Russia and the occupied Ukrainian regions was just over 43%.