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BRUSSELS: The EU on Thursday called on Russia to probe reports of irregularities during a nationwide vote to approve constitutional changes allowing President Vladimir Putin to potentially extend his two-decade rule until 2036.

"We are aware of reports and allegations of irregularities during the vote, including voter coercion, double voting, violation of secrecy of the vote, and allegations of police violence against a journalist who was present to observe," said EU spokesman Peter Stano.

"We expect these reports to be duly investigated because these are serious allegations," Stano told a news briefing in Brussels.

The EU also criticised an amendment of the reform that gave Russian law primacy over its international commitments, which defied the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, of which Moscow is a signatory.

"We expect Russia, regardless of any amendments to this constitution, to live up to its international obligations," Stano said.

The EU said it also did not recognise any voting that was held in Crimea, which has been annexed by Russia, and eastern Ukraine.

"We are committed to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine so we don't recognise the vote in the Crimea and in the eastern part of Ukraine," he said.