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Pro-Russian rebels vow to derail Ukraine presidential poll

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Pro-Russian rebels vow to derail Ukraine presidential poll


In east Ukraine, government officials have accused pro-Russian separatists of seizing election commission offices in a bid to derail Sunday’s presidential poll.

The latest tension raises further doubts over whether voting will go ahead in Ukraine’s eastern regions where rebels remain in control.

The self-appointed parliamentary speaker of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said: “Of course there will be attempts but we are not planning to hold any vote. How can we hold an election of a neighbouring country in our territory?”

Despite the rebels efforts, officials loyal to Kyiv in Donetsk say they are working hard to make sure the vote takes place.

“We recently had threats and attacks coming from so-called representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic. We were threatened by people with guns, they came in and took all of our paperwork. And now we are trying to put everything back together again,” said Donetsk election official Irina Kondratenko.

On Tuesday, rallies were held in the east of the country and factory workers temporarily downed tools after Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov called for a peaceful warning protest against the rebels.

Elsewhere, in a sign of growing tension and division ahead of Sunday’s vote, unverified footage appeared to show armed men holding up the bus of Shakhtar Donetsk’s youth football team at gun point.

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