Ukraine: Daily Briefing – April 01, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 01, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
Training of 72nd mechanized brigade. Photo JMTG-Ukraine
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on March 31 the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire once on Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk sector.
On March 30 and 29 the Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 25 times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sector, using heavy weapons in 19 instances. One Ukrainian service member was killed in action and six were wounded in action on Friday and Saturday. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed six and wounded twelve enemy troops on March 29 and 30.
2. Ukrainians vote at Ukrainian Consulate in Edmonton for the first time
 
First voter arrives at the polling station at the Consulate General of Ukraine in Edmonton on March 31_ 2019_ to vote in the presidential election. Photo Brad LaFoy
Yesterday was an important day for Ukraine – Presidential Election Day. Ukrainians in 72 countries including Canada cast their votes in 101 polling locations for the future leader of the democratic independent country. Three of those polling stations are in Canada: Ottawa, Toronto and for the first time ever in the the newly opened consulate in Edmonton.
The Edmonton Consulate is the first that Ukraine has opened since the beginning of Russia’s military aggression in the Donbas in 2014. It serves the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon.

Previously, citizens had to travel across the country to Ottawa or Toronto to vote – a journey of nearly 3,000 kilometers in a country where travel can be prohibitively expensive.

“The first voters were waiting when the polling station opened its doors at 8 a.m. Anna Makieienko and Volodymyr Krasnikov had arrived from Vancouver just this morning, more than 800 kilometers away, to cast their vote,” writes Olena Goncharova in the KyivPost.
“Most of our friends couldn’t come (to Edmonton) to vote,” Makieienko explained. “But the election is a must for every Ukrainian citizen. It’s important to be Ukrainians not just on paper or on Facebook, but actually, be a responsible citizen. And if we come back, we want to make sure we have somewhere to go, that Ukraine exists.”
Edmonton is second to the last constituency to vote on Ukraine’s Election Day. Casting ballots here lasted until 5 a.m. Kyiv time on Monday, April 1. The last in the world to vote will be Ukrainians living in San Francisco.
Click here to read the full article by Olena Goncharova in the Kyiv Post
Note on elections results from Canada: 
A majority of Ukrainians voting in Canada supported Petro Poroshenko who had 152 votes in Ottawa, 432 in Toronto and 110 in Edmonton. The first runner up was Anatoliy Hrytsenko with 223 votes overall followed by Volodymyr Zelenskiy with 213 votes overall. According to preliminary exit polls Zelenskiy is leading with over 30% voter support in Ukraine.
3. Election Results: Zelenskiy Ahead In Ukrainian Presidential Election
Photo by Valentyn Ogirenko_Reuters
So far, three presidential candidates have secured their positions above 10 percent. Reportedly, Volodymyr Zelenskiy – actor and political novice – received more than 30 percent in voter support while the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko remains in second position with 16.8 percent of the vote, followed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with about 13.3 percent, as reported by the Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.
“Today a new life starts, without corruption,” Zelenskiy, 41, said at his party headquarters in Kyiv shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m. local time.
When asked about exit-poll results Poroshenko said he felt “no euphoria.” “This is a harsh lesson for me and the authorities as a whole. It is a reason to work on our mistakes,” he noted.
Tymoshenko, who was among the leaders of the 2004-05 Orange Revolution against a flawed presidential vote, campaigned heavily on anti-Poroshenko sentiment and appealed to populism, including pledges to cut gas prices to households by half within a month of taking office and drastically raising pensions.
“Ukrainians and outsiders hope the eventual winner can bring much-needed stability and reform to a country that is a key transit route for Russian gas and an ally in Western efforts to keep a resurgent Russia in check,” writes RFE/RL
If no one wins a majority outright, the top two candidates advance to a runoff on April 21.
Click here to read the full Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty piece.
4. Interim Report from Mission Canada 2019 Elections Observation Mission 
 
 
The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Head of Mission 
On the eve of sixth presidential election in Ukraine, Canada’s election observation team had 110 short-term election observers who had to go through training and were deployed to their designated polling posts all over Ukraine.
“This election observation is a real opportunity for so many Canadians to play an important role in promoting democratic practices around the world and Canadem has been clearly a leader in that field,” said the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, head of Canada Mission in Ukraine.
When talking about the observers he said “they bring away with it the looks and attitudes that will affect them for years to come and their families and it’s the way we build a civic sense of duty in Canada itself by having an opportunity for so many Canadians to be involved in something as important as the election in Ukraine.”
On April 1, Mission Canada issued its Preliminary Statement of Findings of the 2019 Presidential Election in Ukraine. Notably, Mission Canada visited 841 polling stations to observe the voting, counting and transmission of results. The Honorable Lloyd Axworthy, Ms. Olya Odynska-Grod and the analyst team held more than 100 meetings with a range of actors, including IFES, NDI, IRI, ENEMO, OPORA, representatives of the Crimean Tatar people, other election observation missions, women’s and minority groups, numerous political campaigns, the Central Electoral Commission and government security and policing institutions.
Video of the press conference Preliminary Statement of Findings of the 2019 Presidential Election in Ukraine
After analyzing all aspects of the electoral process to date, including the pre-election period and the voting and counting procedures on election day Mission Canada made the first assessment that the elections were fair, met international standards for democratic elections, and should generate confidence in voters.
Some of the systemic concerns that need to be addressed according to Mission Canada were the change of legislation in IDPs’ participation, opaque campaign financing, high concentration of media ownership by a few interests, and some candidates not observing campaign media rules.
Click here to read the full statement
5. Interim Statement: Ukrainian World Congress International Observation Mission:
Press conference of the UWC International Observation Mission to Elections. UCMC 01.04.2019
Press conference of the UWC International Observation Mission to Elections. UCMC 01.04.2019
On April 1, 2019, Eugene Czolij, Head of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) International Observation Mission in Ukraine, together with his colleagues Andrew Futey of Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, Maryna Iaroshevych, and Tamara Gallo-Olexy gave a press conference at Ukraine Crisis Media Center on the preliminary result of the presidential elections observation.
Despite a few of violations that were not systematic during the first round of presidential elections UWC highlighted that the process of expression of political will was transparent and democratic. The elections corresponded to international standards and reflected the will of Ukrainian people.
In addition, UWC Mission confirmed numerous disinformation attacks employed against Ukraine by the Russian media as an element of its hybrid war against Ukraine.

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