Preparations for Sunday’s presidential election in the Ukrainian capital belied the insecurity in the east as nine more deaths are reported in battles between groups loyal to Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists.
Observers warn around 5 million living in the east are likely to face obstructions but the electoral commission offered a solution.
“The people who live in the east and in the Crimea and have no possibility to vote for whatever reasons, and we all know what the reasons are, they were given the opportunity to apply to the electoral authorities to change the place where they vote and exercise their voting rights in any other place of their choice,” explained Oleg Kupriyenko, Head of the Kyiv Regional Electoral Commission.
Pro-Russian separatists in the self-proclaimed people’s republic of Donetsk, appeared determined to disrupt the election in any way they could.
“We don’t need these elections at all, we have our own republic. We are not ready for elections yet and what Kyiv is doing is not an order for us,” said a woman known locally as Mrs Santa Claus.
Over a thousand international observers are expected to monitor the vote.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said he would respect the outcome, whilst continuing to denounce the uprising which led to the departure of President Yanukovych.