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Ukraine embassy to receive expats for out-of-country polls next week

By Khetam Malkawi - May 22,2014 - Last updated at May 22,2014

AMMAN — Ukrainians residing in Jordan will head to their country’s embassy in Amman next week to vote for their next president, the Ukrainian ambassador said on Thursday.

There are 400 Ukrainians in Jordan, and tens of them have already registered to vote in the polls, slated for May 25, Ambassador Sergey Pasko said in an interview with The Jordan Times.

“Twenty-one candidates will vie for the presidency,” the envoy said, adding that the second round of the elections might take place next month.

Pasko voiced hope that the elections will restore security to his country.

He noted that the unrest over the past few months in both Ukraine and countries neighbouring Jordan, especially in Syria, had affected bilateral trade, with the trade volume dropping from $150 million in the first quarter of 2013 to $101 million in the same period this year.

“It is not possible to use Syrian territory to transport goods,” the ambassador noted, adding that the bilateral trade volume stood at $426 million in 2013.

Stressing that regaining security is important, Pasko said there are 3,500 Jordanian students studying in Ukraine and almost half of them have returned to Jordan due to the current situation there.

In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russia insurgents attacked a military checkpoint Thursday, killing at least 11 troops and wounding some 33 others in the deadliest raid yet in weeks of fighting, The Associated Press reported.

Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in televised comments blamed Russia for backing the rebels in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which have declared independence from the government in Kiev.

“Thursday’s carnage casts a shadow over Ukraine’s upcoming presidential vote on Sunday, which separatists in the east have pledged to derail,” AP said. 

Authorities in Kiev see the vote as a chance to defuse tensions and stabilise the country, but they have admitted it will be impossible to stage the vote in some eastern areas where election officials and voters have faced intimidation and sometimes death threats from the rebels, the agency reported

Ukraine said it will deploy 55,000 police and 20,000 volunteers to try to ensure security on polling day, according to Agence France-Presse.

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