On tense eastern frontline election turnout worries Ukrainian officials

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On tense eastern frontline election turnout worries Ukrainian officials

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On the southern frontline in Mariupol, Ukraine’s major port in the east, the election takes place under separatist and pro-Russian guns dug in just over the horizon.

The city is still Ukrainian, and most people want it to stay that way after the vote, but there are worries about the turnout.

“The headquarters expect that in an optimistic scenario, around 30-35 percent will vote, and in a pessimistic one around 10-15 percent. As far as I know from my colleagues, some of the polling stations in Talakovka and Sartana will not open, because people simply are afraid to open these polling stations, because these villages were being shelled,” said the head of the district electoral commission Tatiana Turina.

It is far from being a normal election, but these are not normal times for Ukraine. The election is not even happening in the eastern territories no longer answering to Kyiv and occupied by pro-Russians and their foreign allies.

“These elections will not achieve anything. It will be even worse. The money that they spent on the elections would be better given to people for pensions and social payments for mothers,” said Donetsk resident Nina Vasilievna.

“We don’t care about their elections. It’s important that here everything is in order. Then everything will be fine. They can imagine anything they want, but their elections will not happen here. It’s a fact,” said a pro-Russian rebel commander.

Whatever Sunday’s result the people here will have no representation in Kyiv, but for many that is now another country’s capital, and it is to Moscow that they look for a lead.