Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko (center) is likely to reach the second round on April 21, according to preliminary results.Poroshenko addressed younger voters on Twitter Sunday.”I would like to appeal to the young generation separately today,” wrote Poroshenko. “You see changes in the country, but you want them to be faster, deeper and more qualitative. I understood the motives of your protest. I heard you.”
In Ukraine’s election, a comedian might be voters’ best choice”It is up to you, Ukrainians, to decide which course the country will take, who will be the supreme commander, who will represent Ukraine in international meetings with Western leaders, and in conversations with Moscow,” he added.Ukrainians went to the polls on Sunday after five years locked in a proxy war with Russia. In 2014, 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.Poroshenko campaigned on his ability to play tough with Russia. In a statement last week on Twitter, he 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.”Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the first round vote Monday, but did say that he hoped the “party of war” would not prevail.”We are closely following the candidates’ statements, especially in the part that concerns our country and bilateral relations, of course,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters Monday, without naming candidates.”We are closely watching the statements of candidates about their vision of the future fate of Donbas and we’re making adequate conclusions. And of course, we would still like not to see the party of war at the helm of Ukraine, but the party that is intent on a real step-by-step settlement of the situation in the south-east of Ukraine based on the existing agreements.”While Zelensky has pretty much no political experience he has built a business empire, mainly in entertainment, estimated to be worth tens of millions.And although some say his policies lack depth, Zelensky has chosen some reform-minded technocrats to make up his team of advisers.Chief among them are former finance minister Oleksandr Danylyuk; former economic development and trade minister Aivaras Abromavicius; lawmaker and anti-corruption campaigner Sergii Leshchenko.Correction: This story previously misidentified a Ukrainian businessman as an adviser of Volodymyr Zelensky. It’s been updated to remove this.