In spite of armed separatists’ attacks in Donetsk region, Russian troops’ maneuvres and the annexation of Crimea, the early presidential elections have taken place. According to Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, everyone had an opportunity of casting their vote. But is it true?
Even Crimean Tatars participared in the elections. To give their votes they had to come to Kherson region because all Ukrainian is forbidden in Crimea now. In Donetsk and Luhansk regions separatists made a number of attempts to thwart the elections: armed people in camo carried out attacks on local polling stations, election commission members, cars delivering ballot papers. Not a single voting station was opened in Donetsk. The Ukrainian authorities did make voting possible, but people had difficulty availing of the opportunity.
‘To cast their vote, one should go to another town. But there are a lot of checkpoints on the way, some of them are controlled by Ukraine’s arme, others are in the hands of separatists,’ a resident of Kramatorsk (Donetsk region) told journalists.
The situation is nervous: the clashes between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian separatists are not over, people die. The information on the death of two journalists – Andrey Mironov from Russia and Andrea Rocelli from Italy – was confirmed yeasterday. The reporters came under mortar fire near the city of Sloviansk.
There are few of ethnic Ukrainians among separatists, and they make no secret of it now. But a number of Russians, Chechens, Ossetians is increasing. Our compatriot, Homel-born Anatol Mauchanau, started to fight against Ukraine in Crimea and got awards. Now his aim is a medal ‘For the Capture of Kyiv’.
‘I want us to live in one country, together with a united Slavic family. I am not in favour of separations, and tycoons’ wars,’ he said.
At the same time, Ukrainian billionaires are not in any rush to help self-proclaimed ‘people’ governments. Yesterday ‘green men’ and pro-Russian activists came to Donetsk residence of Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Donbass.
‘We want Rinal Akhmetov to support Donetsk People’s Republic,’ Andrey Rodkin, a member of the ‘government’, he said.
‘Our deputies just asked him to pay taxes [to Donetsk people’s Republic] every months. But the ignores us. He transfers money to the junta which kills people,’ Olga, a pro-Russian activist, says.
The idea dwindled away to nothing: Mr Akhmetov turned his back on the demonstrators saying he wouldn’t back them financially. And the protestors … went home.