Voting in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine was not an option for voters on Sunday after pro-Russian rebels closed down polling stations.
The separatists had promised to do everything in their power to prevent presidential elections taking place and kept to their word, smashing ballot boxes in the streets.
Euronews correspondent Sergio Cantone reports that Donetsk is under the control of gunmen and that around 400 men from the Vostock (east) battalion were cheered by around 1,000 people as they passed through the streets, saying they were going to the “front.”
Locals said the armed men were protecting them.
One man told euronews: “they protect us from Kyiv’s junta, from the extreme Ukrainian nationalists. We didn’t invite them over here, they came by themselves, and now they are crying out that they got killed, so go home!”
European election monitors said they had pulled out of the region for their own safety, explaining there was a campaign of “terror“ against them.
In the east of Ukraine, voting was only happeneing in some polling station in Mariupol, Lugansk and Krasnoarmysk.
One lady in Krasnoarmysk said she was determined to vote whatever the cost.
“You ask if I am afraid to come to vote?” She said, “we live here not very far, it’s very close, should we be afraid to come? Should we stay inside our houses? And who is going to provide a better future for our children?”
Sergio Cantone described how the district electoral commission in Krasnoarmysk was protected by the Dnipro battalion forces while inside ballots were being counted. In the last few days, he said, many of these places had been attacked.