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Poroshenko meets troops as voting continues across Ukraine

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Poroshenko meets troops as voting continues across Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has paid a surprise visit to troops fighting pro-Russian separatists on the front line in the east of the country.

Special arrangements have been made for the soldiers to vote in the nearby city of Kramatorsk.

Many people say today’s first parliamentary election since last year’s protests is likely to install a pro-Western parliament in Kyiv.

That would strengthen Poroshenko’s mandate to end the conflict in the east of the country. But it may fuel tension with neighbouring Russia, according to some analysts.

Voting started on a cold but sunny morning in the capital.

Many locals hoped things will change for the better.

“I think a new political party will bring a lot of changes,” said one vote. “You can see that it’s impossible to work the the current parliament.”

“First of all, look at what’s happening in our country,” said another. “It has not been good. I have used my vote and hope that the choice I have made will influence change. Everything needs to change. I hope some of the candidates will help being change.”

Whoever wins the elections faces enormous challenges, beginning with resolving the conflict in the east which has seen more than 3,700 deaths and over 800,000 refugees.

Around 2,000 international observers, including around 800 from Europe’s OSCE, are in place to monitor polling procedures.