Trump says Putin meeting may be called off over ‘aggression’ against Ukraine
No, but attacking with them is, dumb ass ...and so is declaring martial law and suspending elections because YOUR FRIEND the OBAMA /UN installed NAZI incumbent was about to hitlary himself in them...because POPULISM.
Say, what ever happened to mental floss?
his typing teeth all fall out?
This is like when CNN reported Russia invaded Georgia and then someone zoomed in on the video of the invading troops and LOW and BEHOLD: they were the Georgians invading the Russians.
The front-runners in Ukraine's presidential election are a chocolate magnate, an energy tycoon-turned-populist and a television comedian. That may sound like a parody headline, but Sunday's vote is a serious business for a country at war.
Ukraine has been locked in a proxy war with Russia since 2014, when Russian troops annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, and Moscow fueled a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. The United Nations estimates that, as of February 15, the fighting has claimed almost 13,000 lives, with at least 3,321 civilian deaths and an estimated 9,500 combatants killed.
The incumbent, President Petro Poroshenko, is campaigning on his ability to play tough with Russia. In a statement this week on Twitter, Poroshenko cast Russian President Vladimir Putin as his main opponent.
"When asked who is my ally, with whom I am ready to unite and coordinate my actions, I answer: my ally is the Ukrainian people," he tweeted Tuesday. "Who is my opponent? I am not ashamed to say it openly -- this opponent is Putin."
Sunday's vote, however, may bring no clear outcome. If there is not an outright winner with an absolute majority of votes in the first round, the top two candidates go on to a second round on April 21.
Poroshenko faces an uphill battle to make it to that second round. Earlier this week, a poll by Rating Group Ukraine showed that the leading candidate, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has the support of 27.7% of intended voters.
Just under a year ago, the President's support among likely voters was in the single digits. Since then, Poroshenko has reduced the gap: In another recent survey, American pollster GQR found the current president catching up with Zelenskiy, with 20% of likely voters saying they would vote for him if the election were held the coming Sunday.
Poroshenko, a tycoon best known for his ownership of chocolate manufacturer Roshen, may have the advantages of incumbency. But he's competing against someone who has major name recognition.
Zelenskiy is a comedian and the star of "Servant of the People," a Ukrainian television series now carried on Netflix.
And in a made-for-TV twist, the plot of the series foreshadowed his quixotic political bid: Zelenskiy plays a down-and-out schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes President of Ukraine after becoming famous for an anti-corruption rant that goes viral on social media.
"Servant of the People" is, in effect, a campaign advertisement for Zelenskiy: A new episode airs on Wednesday on the 1+1 channel, just days before the election.
But political observers also say Zelenskiy is something of a blank slate, a complete newcomer to politics whose mastery of policy details is still rather scant.
Poroshenko, by contrast, has campaigned on a patriotic and national-security platform, running on a slogan of Armiya, Mova, Vira (meaning "army, language, faith.")
Poroshenko in recent months has stepped up confrontation with Russia. After Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and detained 24 sailors in a strategic waterway that links the Azov Sea with the Black Sea in November, Poroshenko's government responded by imposing martial law and warning of impending Russian invasion.
Ukraine's incumbent President has also played on Ukraine's bid for greater spiritual independence from Russia, welcoming a decision last October by Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual and symbolic leader of the eastern Orthodox church, to recognize an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
'Democracy in Ukraine is messy ... but competitive'
Most polls show that Poroshenko appears to be in a dead heat for second place against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
The latest Rating Group Ukraine poll showed both Tymoshenko and Poroshenko running neck and neck, each with support from 17% of likely voters.
Tymoshenko, twice a former Prime Minister, is a formidable opponent. The former head of an energy company in the 1990s, she came to power in 2007 following a wave of peaceful protests known as the Orange Revolution.
She left office in 2010 and was later jailed over a natural gas agreement that she signed with Russia, a sentence widely seen as political.
The only thing certain in Ukrainian politics is uncertainty. In contrast to neighboring Russia, where Putin won a resounding (and expected) victory in the polls last year, we don't know if the incumbent will come out on top.
"Democracy in Ukraine is messy & far from perfect, but it's competitive," former US ambassador to Ukraine Stephen Pifer wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "We're 5 days from presidential election & less that 26 days from almost certain run-off, but no one knows who will win. In contrast, we knew in 2013 who would win 2018 presidential election in Russia."
KIEV, Ukraine - A comic actor with no political experience was leading strongly in Ukraine's presidential election and will be in a runoff for the job in three weeks, according to results released Monday. Ukraine's president was still trying to hold off a long-time rival to claim the other spot in the runoff.
With nearly 84 percent of the polling stations counted, Volodymyr Zelenskiy had 30 percent support in Sunday's vote, while President Petro Poroshenko was a distant second with about 16% of the vote.
Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko trailed behind in third with 13% support.
The strong showing for the 41-year-old Zelenskiy reflects the public longing for a fresh leader who has no links to Ukraine's corruption-ridden political elite and can offer a new approach to settling the grinding five-year conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has left 13,000 dead since 2014.
"This is only the first step toward a great victory," Zelenskiy said.
The top two candidates advance to a runoff on April 21. Final results are expected later Monday.
Zelenskiy dismissed suggestions that he could pool forces with Tymoshenko to get her voters in the second round in exchange for forming a coalition later.
"We aren't making any deals with anyone," he said. "We are young people. We don't want to see all the past in our future."
Like the character he plays in a TV comedy show, a schoolteacher-turned-president angry over corruption, Zelenskiy made fighting corruption a focus of his candidacy. He proposed a lifetime ban on holding public office for anyone convicted of graft. He also called for direct negotiations with Russia on ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The election was marred by allegations of widespread vote buying. Police said they had received more than 2,100 complaints of violations on voting day alone in addition to hundreds of earlier voting fraud claims, including bribery attempts and removing ballots from polling stations.
Zelenskiy's headquarters alleged multiple voting and other cheating on the part of Poroshenko's campaign, but election officials said the vote took place without significant violations.
Election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe hailed Sunday's election as competitive and free, even though it criticized procedural violations and said there were indications that state resources were misused in the vote.
Poroshenko looked visibly relieved about surpassing Tymoshenko.
"It's a tough lesson for me and my team," he said. "It's a reason for serious work to correct mistakes made over the past years."
But Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta Center Kyiv-based independent think-tank, predicted that Zelenskiy will easily win the runoff.
"He doesn't even need to do anything, the current government already has done it, setting most voters against itself," Fesenko said. "Poroshenko needs to prepare for a defeat and try to seek security guarantees for himself and his team."
It's a long way from the killing fields of Kandahar to the laneways of Lviv, Ukraine — but for Lt.-Col. Pierre Leroux, the newer conflict carries some echoes of the older one.
When Leroux arrived in Afghanistan in the fall of 2010, the Canadian army was helping to train Afghan forces to fight in the middle of a shooting war with the insurgent Taliban.
In 2019, Leroux leads the Canadian task force training Ukrainian soldiers to fight an equally deadly, hot-and-cold conventional war with Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern regions.
There are important differences between the two wars — for starters, Canadians were on the frontlines in Kandahar and are not in Lviv — but in both conflicts Leroux arrived on the scene at a watershed moment, just as the war was about to evolve into something different.
His tour of Afghanistan as a company commander in the 1st Battalion Royal 22e Regiment came just after an American military surge had tamed the wildly dangerous Kandahar province, giving the Canadians an opening to finally help establish some semblance of governance.
Ukraine is on the cusp of a transformation of its own, with the possible election of a new president whose opaque platform has some international analysts worried that he is pro-Russian.
A runoff election in a few weeks will decide whether Volodymyr Zelensky unseats Petro Poroshenko, whose pro-Western outlook and dogged military campaign in two restive districts (known as 'oblasts') has worn thin with ordinary Ukrainian voters.
The Liberal government recently renewed Canada's military commitment of 200 training soldiers in western Ukraine until 2022.
Leroux said there's no shortage of work for them to do.
"There are so many things that we can improve," Leroux told the CBC in a telephone interview from the military training centre in Yavoriv, near Lviv. "It's pretty incredible. There's still a lot of doors open."
Canadian troops first deployed to help train Ukrainian army units in advanced combat skills — including the detection and defusing of roadside bombs and booby traps, which presented a major problem in the early stages of the conflict.
Leroux said the Ukrainians have advanced to the point where they can train their own bomb disposal troops. The Canadians are now helping them with what's known as 'sapper' training: breaching fortifications, demolition and bridge-building under fire. They're also providing advanced courses to train snipers.
One of Canada's biggest contributions, however, has been in the field of advanced combat medical training.
When the Canadians arrived in September 2015, Ukrainian soldiers were only being given short, basic combat medic training by U.S. troops. In Canadian hands, that training has been expanded into a three-month course that delivers advanced life-saving skills.
A better chance of survival
It's important knowledge, given the Ukranian army's high attrition rate, Leroux said. Knowing the wounded have a better chance of survival has boosted the confidence levels of frontline troops.
Leroux said the politics of Ukraine is far removed from the work he and his troops are doing, but he's convinced the work has value.
"So I see this mission can keep on going for a while," he said.
The commander of HMCS Toronto, which is currently cruising the Black Sea off Ukraine and taking part in exercises with other NATO warships, expressed similar optimism in a ship-to-shore interview on Friday.
Commander Martin Fluet said that — unlike previous patrols, when his frigate and other allied ships faced low-flying Russian warplanes buzzing them — this latest foray into the region has been quiet.
Shadowed by the Russians
According to reports published in Moscow, two Russian warships — one of them an intelligence-gathering vessel — are shadowing the NATO task force.
Fluet confirmed those reports, but said it's all part of the routine.
"It is a very standoff approach, where they are following from a distance," he said. "There was nothing hostile directed towards us."
The U.S. has proposed sending even more ships into the Black Sea and stepped-up port visits along the coast in eastern Europe — partly in response to the capture of small Ukrainian naval vessels by the Russians in the disputed Kerch Strait last November.
After a meeting with alliance foreign ministers in Washington this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he hopes allies "agree on new measures to improve our knowledge of the situation in the [Black Sea] region."
That's a signal that rotating naval deployments — which include Canadian ships — will also continue for some time to come.