Ukraine steps up security for polling day

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard next to an armoured vehicle on the road from Izyum to Slavyansk, on May 20, 2014Ukraine plans to deploy more than 55,000 police and 20,000 volunteers to ensure that Sunday’s presidential ballot goes off smoothly despite the bloody separatist uprising gripping the industrialised east. The interior ministry’s public order director Andriy Chaliy conceded that the “threat of Russia’s aggression and the actions of separatists in the east” posed a threat to Sunday’s snap vote. Rebels in the mostly Russian-speaking regions of Lugansk and Donetsk have vowed to disrupt the election and instead seek recognition as independent states that could one day be folded into Russia as the Crimean peninsula had been in March. Ukraine’s parliament agreed on Tuesday to put a conciliatory measure up for a future vote that would grant more powers to the regions and ensure that the right to speak Russian in public institutions is enshrined in the constitution.

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