Monday, February 08, 2010

Yanukovich claims ‘Polish interference’ in Ukraine election planned

From: The News
Ukraine presidential candidate Victor Yanukovych vows that “fighters” from Poland, Lithuania and Georgia planning to disrupt the second round of the presidential elections will be repelled.

In an astonishing outburst in the week leading up to the second round of the Ukrainian presidential elections, Yanukovich was quoted by Interfax, Monday, as saying: “We have been informed that so-called election monitors from Poland and Lithuania are on their way to Ukraine. Several boats from Georgia are also coming to Odessa.”

Yanukovich, leader of the party of the Regions who won the first round of the presidential election on January 17, and is going head-to-head with Yulia Tymoshenko is the second round on Sunday, said that outside influences were trying to interfere with the ballot at the invitation of his rival.

“It’s obvious that these are fighters who are coming to Ukraine to help Tymoshenko,” said Yanukovych.

Yanukovich – who gains most of his support from Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east of the country and is in favour of closer ties with Russia - added that the Ukrainian boarder guards, security service and Defence Ministry were informed about the alleged threat. Yanukovych warned that if the authorities do not act against the intruders, the Party of Regions will mobilize its forces to fight against them.

“We’re going to show them what it means to be Ukrainian,” said Yanukovych.

During the ballot on 17 January almost 2,000 Georgians came to eastern Ukraine and tried to register as election monitors. However, the Central Electoral Committee rejected their request. Yanukovych then accused Yulia Tymoshenko of hiring mercenaries sent by Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili to destabilize the country.

In the first round of the presidential elections, Victor Yanukovych received 35.32 percent of votes and Yulia Tymoshenko 25.05 percent. Over 3,000 people from countries other than Georgia participated in the first round of the Ukrainian elections as election monitors.

Yanukovich’s election as president in 2004 led to widespread street protests in what came to be known as the Orange Revolution, amid accusations of vote-rigging. The election was subsequently re-run and won by Viktor Yushchenko.