Petro Poroshenko wins Ukraine's presidential election
After months of turmoil, Ukrainians elected a new president in the first round of voting-- billionaire Petro Poroshenko. But he still has to face pro-Russian separatists, a fragile economy, and relations with Moscow.
After the removal of a president, bloodshed, lost territory and uncertainty, the people of Ukraine came out in droves yesterday to vote for a new president. Petro Poroshenko, a tycoon who made his money in the confecitonary business, and a former ally of the deposed President Viktor Yanukovych, was able to claim the presidency after exit polls gave him a clear majority. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, widely seen as the runner-up, quickly conceded defeat.
Although voter turnout was low in the fraught eastern regions. In fact, today armed pro-Russian separatists have face a shut down of the Donetsk airport. Ukrainians in other parts of the country formed long lines to cast their ballots in an election they hope will bring stability.
As not only the President but the future commander-in-chief of Ukrainian armed forces, I'll try to do my best to defend Ukrainian people, to bring security and peace.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
But in eastern Ukraine, the rift between Kyiv and the city of Donetsk widens. Earlier this month the city declared itself an independent country in a referendum condemned by Kyiv and western governments.
Today, pro-Russian forces who support seccession from Ukraine are again in a dangerous standoff with the Ukrainian military. Yesterday, there were reports of smashed ballot boxes and blocked-off or closed polling stations in and around Donetsk.
And Russia's President Vladimir Putin has reiterated through his Foreign Affairs Minister that he will recognize this outcome and that he is open to dialogue. But the tensions between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian militias suggest the future of Moscow and Ukraine relations may not be warm.
The challenge of the relations with Russia comes on top of the challenge of the violence in the two regions in the east, and of course, the challenge of the Ukrainian economy.Maria Lipman, political analyst
- Marta Dyczok is a Professor of History and Political Science at Western Univesity in London, Ontario. We reached her in Kiyv.
- John Wendle is a freelancer reporter with Global Radio News. He spoke to us from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
- Maria Lipman is a political analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Centre and we reached her in Moscow.
What do you think the future holds for post-election Ukraine?
This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien and Pacinthe Mattar.