Monitors express concern about voter fears in Ukraine's east
Sunday, May 25, 2014 - 01:43
May 25 - International election monitors say they've received reports of fear in Donetsk, where some voting stations are closed. Nathan Frandino reports.
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International monitors are hard at work in Ukraine.
The long-awaited presidential election is finally here.
Not all Ukrainians are participating though.
The election's special coordinator from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says they are worried about voter intimidation in the east, particularly Donetsk.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) OSCE SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, JOAO SOARES, SAYING:
"We talked with people from the electoral commission, we talked with the main advisors of the governor of Donetsk, we talked with people in the streets because we walked in the streets and I can feel that there are many people that are afraid."
Donetsk is a major haven for pro-Russian residents.
They're protesting the election and celebrating the members of the local "Eastern Battalion" militia.
The prime minister of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" says the poll is pointless.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PRIME MINISTER OF SO-CALLED 'DONETSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC', ANDREI BORODAI, SAYING:
"As far as I know, the election isn't happening at all. Polling stations aren't open. People didn't come."
The normal polling stations in Donetsk were closed, frustrating some would-be voters.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT, TATIANA, SAYING:
"I live in the country and I can't vote. It's not right. Everyone should have his own will. If I want to vote, I vote. If I don't want to vote, I don't vote. If I want to vote for someone...Maybe I'd go and strike everything out. That's also possible. Many want to vote because we don't have a president, but to not give the opportunity to vote is not right. It breaks all the laws."
Early signs otherwise are indicating a high turnout in the rest of the country.
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