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Election under threat in eastern Ukraine

Following their declaration of independence earlier this month, Pro-Russian insurgents pledged to derail the vote.

Pro-Russian armed militants guard a checkpoint blocking the major highway which links Kharkiv, outside Slovyansk, Ukraine. (AP) Pro-Russian armed militants guard a checkpoint blocking the major highway which links Kharkiv, outside Slovyansk, Ukraine. (AP)

A Ukrainian official says at least half of the election districts in the east have been unable to prepare for Sunday’s presidential election.

Volodymyr Hrinyak, chief of the public security department at the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, said Saturday in comments carried by the Interfax news agency that 17 out of 34 district election commissions in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are not operating because their offices have either been seized or blocked by armed men.

Pro-Russian insurgents have controlled parts of Ukraine for weeks. Following their declaration of independence earlier this month, they pledged to derail the vote which they regard as an election in “a neighbouring country.”

The insurgents remain defiant although Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is ready to work with the election winner.

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