Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.
For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17.
- READ OUR SPECIAL REPORT: An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlinâs Dirty War in Ukraine
The second round of voting took place in a number of Ukrainian cities today in elections which were either too close to call or where no candidate got more than 50% in the first round on October 23.
In Kiev, according to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, 64.7% voted for Witaly Klitschko of the Poroshenko bloc and 35.3% for Borislav Bereza of the Party of Resolute Citizens. Bereza is also a member of Right Sector.
Mikhail Okhendovsky, chairman of the Central Elections Commission, said turnout for the second rounds was very low, about 30% of registered voters.
It is still too early to assess the final results of the Ukrainian elections as the official tallies have to be given and more analysis is needed. But it may be that predictions of a revanche of Svoboda and Right Sector, which failed to cross the 5% threshold in the parliamentary elections last year, and gained only scattered seats in single-mandate district, may be premature. Timoshenko’s Batkivshchina party also did well only in a few specific districts.
The cliche of the “East-West” divide persists in describing Ukraine, although those that take a more granular view find that this is not only superficial but misleading.
Serhiy Vasylchenko, a physicist in Chernihiv Region who has worked with election-monitoring groups, has done intensive and painstaking work in documenting the vote in every district in Ukraine for the 2014 elections and created a series of maps.
This map from last year’s elections reveals how much Ukraine is “speckled” throughout and not divided neatly between “East and West,” as districts voting for Poroshenko appeared in the Donbass even by the front line — or perhaps especially by the front line given the failure of the “people’s republics” to end war and deliver basic necessities last year. The map also shows that the Popular Front, created by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, had more success in western Ukraine that seems to be acknowledged.
The map also shows that while controversial politician Oleh Lyashko had significant support, it was concentrated in the north. Svoboda did not have significant support anywhere. In Zakarpattia, an area with a pro-Russian presence, there is also the “speckling” between Poroshenko Bloc and Opposition Bloc.
Vasylchenko created another interesting map that shows which parties came in second, so that we can get a sense of where the challenges are to those that did win the elections, sometimes by not very wide margins.
And here we see the Poroshenko Bloc in many areas of the “East” where, if the cliches were true, those coming in second would be other parties critical of Kiev. We can also see the challenge of Samopomich in a number of regions.
The question is now how these maps will look after these latest local elections, and whether the cliches about the “East-West” divide will have more substance or be challenged once again.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
“We are really seeing hard demonstrations of an escalation of the situation in the east. The number of shellings has increased, and our reaction has been instant. I have given a clear order that as soon as a threat to the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, to our warriors, our heroes, is created, Ukrainian soldiers have the right to open return fire. And that has already led to the following consequences: four diversionary reconnaissance groups of militants have been destroyed, one of which approached to within 80 meters of our observation post. And our soldiers acted absolutely professionally, let them through, it was night-time, they were equipped with heat-sensors, and then ensured a return reaction, and the diversionary and reconnaissance group was destroyed.”
Ukrainians were following the outcome of the second round of some mayoral and other elections around Ukraine. According to exit polls this evening, there were the following tentative results: