Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2014 Contents KIEV---Campaigning for Ukraine s
presidential election, Yulia
Tymoshenko says she alone can save
the nation from disaster. It is a refrain
that has served her well in the past
but the voters no longer seem to be
Opinion polls put Tymoshenko, a
two-times prime minister, in a distant
second place behind confectionary mag-
nate Petro Poroshenko for Sunday s vote
with just 10 per cent support---humil-
iating a woman whose trademark peas-
ant s hair braid and rhetoric have defined
Ukrainian politics for a decade.
But her supporters, who insist the
polls are wrong, and political analysts
say it would be rash to write off
Tymoshenko, whose ambition and self-
belief appear undimmed by health prob-
lems and by a jail sentence that ended
"I will do whatever I can as president
to ensure that Ukraine decides its own
future in Europe as a full-fledged mem-
ber of the democratic world," she told
reporters after addressing supporters at
a business forum in Kiev this week.
In typically combative mood, she
called for a referendum on joining NATO
and the European Union as part of a
campaign she said could force Russia
to reverse its annexation of Crimea and
to stop meddling in mainly Russian-
speaking eastern Ukraine.
Her promises of tax reform and a
crackdown on corruption drew enthu-
siastic applause from supporters, mostly
small businessmen from more nation-
alist-minded western Ukraine.
Tymoshenko remains Ukraine s most
eloquent and recognisable politician
and she likes to stress her experience.
But at a time of yearning for change
that may prove a handicap, not an asset.
Under Yanukovich, she was jailed on
abuse of office charges which her sup-
porters and the West said were politically
But Tymoshenko left jail to find a
very different Ukraine, one traumatised
by the 100-plus deaths during the
protests and now reeling from the loss
of Crimea and Russia s military moves
that have stirred fears of a new Cold
War with the West. (Reuters)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 22, 2014
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DONETSK, Ukraine---The Donetsk People s Republic
is starting to smell.
Rotting garbage is piling up in the hallways of the
government office building seized by separatists in
eastern Ukraine. Telephones ripped from the walls
are piled atop broken furniture and mounds of old
files. The stench of sweat and stale cigarettes is
everywhere. The guards, slouching men with pistols
shoved in their pockets or flapping loosely in holsters,
look increasingly bored.
It s been six weeks since they took over the building,
a week since they declared independence from
Ukraine. But the authority of the alleged nation
barely extends beyond their ten-story office tower
and a few heavily armed checkpoints on roads leading
into this industrial city 80 kilometers (50 miles) from
the Russian border.
In the streets of Donetsk, the separatist leaders
and their followers are increasingly derided as a col-
lection of heavily armed, barely employed misfits.
Outside of the rebels headquarters, it can be difficult
to find anyone who agrees with their calls to secede
from Ukraine and link this part of the country---with
its generations of ethnic and linguistic ties to Rus-
"All this shouting about us being a republic. What
kind of a republic is this?" asked Leonid Krivonos,
a 75-year-old retired miner, angry that the separatists
are refusing to allow Ukraine s upcoming presidential
election. "The young ones still have a future to look
forward to, and they risk seeing that all destroyed."
The interim Ukrainian government hopes Sunday s
presidential election will unite the country behind
a new leader, but separatists across the east have
vowed to block the vote.
Donetsk s separatist leader waves away any prospect
of an election. After all, insists Denis Pushilin, chair-
man of the self-declared Supreme Council, Donetsk
is not in Ukraine anymore.
"How can we hold an election of a neighboring
country on our territory?" said the 32-year-old
Pushilin, smiling in an interview in his tenth-floor
A few feet away, his bodyguard fell asleep in a
desk chair, one hand clutching a holstered pistol.
If the tide of opinion has appeared to turn against
the separatists recently---with Russian President
Vladimir Putin supporting Ukraine s presidential
election and billionaire industrialist Rinat Akhmetov
calling on his 300,000 employees to stand up to the
mutineers---Pushilin is unconcerned. (AP)
In Ukraine, chaos meets
her magic in Ukraine
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