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Former journalist raises €78,000 in bid to be Ukraine’s next president

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Credit: Dmytro Gnap/Facebook
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A former journalist raised a total of €78,000 in less than a fortnight in order to join the race to be Ukraine’s next president.

Dmytro Gnap, who spent nearly a decade investigating corruption in Ukraine, raised the cash by Saturday.

A post on his Facebook page showed a picture of Gnap and his team thanking everyone for donating to the campaign.

The post reads: "Yes, we did it! We did it all together!"

"We received around 3 million hrivnas (€95,082) and our accountant already sent the payment for my bid to the Central Election Commission. I want to thank all of you for believing in the possibility of changes! That you didn’t give up.

It's not only me who did it. It's all of us!

Let's gather together near the Central Election Commission! I want to thank each and one of you. I want to start a cool and victorious campaign together with you. Do you think it’s impossible? Just remember no one believed we could collect this money.

We can do anything together!.

More details soon!"

Gnap decided to run after becoming frustrated by what he sees as a lack of progress since Ukraine's 2014 revolution.

Gnap told Euronews he wanted to finance his campaign by donations from Ukrainian people to stop corruption in politics.

"If you are not as a citizen financing politicians someone comes and gives money for this politician," he said.

"My motivation is to change our country and, through this [crowdfunding], I'm trying to establish new rules in Ukrainian politics.

"I'm the only candidate in this presidential process that is transparently trying to collect money for my political activity."

While Gnap says he is economically liberal, his attitude towards Russia is likely to appeal more to Ukrainian nationalists.

"Russia is state terrorism, Russia is Ukraine's enemy, Russia is an aggressive country that occupies Ukrainian territories, who started a brutal war in Ukraine and started a new war in Europe.

"Russia is not only Ukraine's enemy. It is the enemy of all European people who want modern democracy and liberal values.

"We need to cut the major part of connections with Russia and try to protect our border from Russian invasion and influence."

The launching of Gnap's crowdfunding campaign comes in the week incumbent Petro Poroshenko launched his bid for another five-year term as president.

The 53-year-old has steered the country on a pro-Western and pro-NATO course since coming to power in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan protests and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

He said on Tuesday that if he were to be re-elected, Ukraine would aim to apply to join the European Union by 2024.

Poroshenko was trailing in at least one opinion poll ahead of the March 31 election.

The data from Rating Group, released on January 31, had him behind former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky.