Ukraine Liveblog Day 98: Poroshenko Wins Majority of Votes

May 26, 2014
Petro Poroshenko

Yesterday’s liveblog can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.

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‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ Separatists Fleeing?

Following a major operation of the Ukrainian armed forces in Donetsk today after a separatist take-over of the Donetsk Airport, there are reports that members of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” are fleeing.

Translation: @tombreadley Pushilin with his Macbook is [fleeing] from the DonOGA building. The DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] is in danger.

The morning began with a procession of pro-separatist supporters around the Donetsk Region Administration Building, known as the DonODA by its Russian initials.

Translation:  Meanwhile, a ‘crusade’ around the DonOGA building ‘against bloodshed and so that THEIR protectors remain alive and well’

Then there were reports of a gunfight, and separatists fleeing.

Translation:  @realuran Donetsk: Colorados successfully fleeing the building of the DonODA.
One Shot, One Killed in Election Day Violence in Novoyard

Three civilians were shot in cars near Novoyard in the Lugansk Region on the Lugansk-Kharkiv highway yesterday, Obozrevatel’ reported. One person has reportedly died and the others are injured. Two of the cars were struck near a railroad crossing and grain elevator, and the third near the center of Novoyard.

Obozrevatel‘ reported that there were a group of armed men in camouflage without identifying insignia near one of the cars, and the victims’ personal effects were still in the cars.

Yesterday, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti claimed that election workers who reportedly refused to open the polls in Novoyard were shot dead by Ukrainian forces in the Dniepr unit of the National Guard, citing a representative of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic.

But the Ukrianian Interior Ministry immediately denied the claims, RIA Novosti also reported  (translation by The Interpreter)

“‘There was a gunfight, three so-called terrorists were detained, they are under investigation…One person is killed and one wounded,’ Sergei Yarovoy, deputy head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry told journalists.”

According to RIA Novosti, yet another version of the story was reported by Zhanna Usenko-Chernaya, the deputy chair of the Central Elections Commission, who said the three cars contained election documentation.

“‘There was a battle in Novoyard. Election documents were seized, including ballots from the voting precincts. A red devyatka [type of red car] was involved. There is information that it was shelled,’ said Usenko-Chernaya.

An amateur video uploaded to YouTube today appears to show the victims of this shooting.

Rosbalt Ukraine reported that there was only 17% turnout for elections in Lugansk Region.

In separate news, according to Vladimir Seleznev, spokesman for the Ukrainian government’s Anti-Terror Operation, a checkpoint outside Slavyansk was shelled three times by separatists on 24 May.

Gunfire Reported At Donetsk Airport
Intense gunfire and explosions are being reported at Donetsk airport.
Poroshenko Wins Majority And Avoids Runoff

Petro Poroshenko has defeated 21 rivals, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, by winning the majority of the vote and thus avoiding a runoff. Reuters reports:

Preliminary results with about half of votes counted gave Poroshenko 53.7 percent of the vote – towering over a field of 21 candidates with enough to avert a run-off. His closest challenger, former premier Yulia Tymoshenko, secured just 13.1 percent and made clear she would concede.

In a news conference on Monday, Poroshenko made clear his most urgent task is finding a modus vivendi with the giant neighbor that has seemed poised to carve Ukraine up since a pro-Russian president was ousted in a popular revolt in February.

“I hope Russia will support efforts to tackle the situation in the east,” Poroshenko said. He said he planned to meet Russian officials in the first half of June.