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News by VICE

Bullets, Not Ballots in Donetsk: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 42)

Sunday wasn't election day in all of Ukraine.

by VICE News
May 27 2014, 6:40pm

Photo by Henry Langston

Almost 6 months after the Euromaidan revolution that toppled former president Viktor Yanukovych, Ukrainians went to the polls to elect a new president in the midst of an anti-terror operation to wrestle Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts back under Kiev's control. The separatists of the Donetsk People's Republic openly threatened the election in the region and had stormed a number of electoral commissions and intimidated electoral workers. In response the Ukrainian military alongside its paramilitary proxies have been working to secure towns across Donetsk to ensure a safe election took place.

On Sunday morning as voting started across the country, Donetsk itself saw no voting take place so VICE News headed out to Krasnoarmiisk where voting was able to take place, under the watchful eye of local loyal-to-Kiev police and another paramilitary force, the Dinipro Battalion. Back in Donetsk, supporters of the DPR held a rally in the square, denouncing the election and the other DPR bugbears, NATO, the Kiev 'junta' and the US. Despite the threats, the election did take place in a few towns across the region and the fact that it took place at all seemingly threatens the advertised control of the region by the DPR.