KIEV, Ukraine – Pro-Russian forces are preventing preparation for the Ukraine presidential election in at least half of the districts in the turbulent eastern part of the country.
Volodymyr Hrinyak, chief of the public security department at the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, said Saturday that 17 out of 34 district election commissions in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are not prepared for the election because the buildings have been seized or being blocked by armed, Russian-backed insurgents.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the election, the Russian insurgents have controlled parts of the eastern region of Ukraine. After making their declaration of independence earlier this month, the insurgents threatened to stop voting in the “neighboring country.”
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly said Friday that he will work with winner and new Ukrainian president, but U.S. intel officials told People’s Pundit Daily last week that previously gestures of good-will from Putin were mostly for show.
A whole 21 individual candidates are running in the Ukraine presidential election. Recent polling found billionaire candy-maker Petro Poroshenko with an overwhelming lead. Still, with all of the candidates in the election drawing a small number of supporters, he is polling short of the majority needed to outright win. In a distant second place is Yulia Tymoshenko, the divisive former prime minister who was released in February, right before the former and ousted president was forced to flee.
In polls conducted on the potential run-off that would be held on June 15, Poroshenko is leading.
Associated Press reporters saw two dead Ukrainian soldiers around the village of Karlivka, while another body lay at a rebel checkpoint, both which were in the Donetsk region. A rebel leader said 16 more people died Friday — 10 soldiers, four rebels and two civilians — but we have not verified his statement.
In Kiev, the Defense Ministry said 20 insurgents were killed in an attack conducted by about 500 rebels on a convoy of Ukrainian troops Thursday, which is the largest insurgent assault ever reported. However, the claims also could not be independently confirmed.