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Tense Ukraine picks president amid bloodshed

Published on May 25, 2014 1:23 PM
Members of the Election Commission prepare before voting starts in a presidential election at a polling station in Dnipropetrovsk May 25, 2014. Ukrainians are widely expected to give a resounding endorsement to the overthrow of their last elected leader by voting on Sunday for presidential candidates promising close ties with the West, in defiance of Russia's Vladimir Putin. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine votes on Sunday in a presidential election aimed at calming a deadly crisis that has threatened the ex-Soviet country's very survival, with a reported cyber attack on the vote-counting system adding to concerns.

A bloody pro-Russia rebellion is set to scuttle voting in the east, a region shaken by the thunder of military tanks and grenade launchers since mid-April.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk issued an appeal for the country's 36 million voters to turn out in force on Sunday to "defend Ukraine" in the most important election since independence in 1991.

"This will be the expression of the will of Ukrainians from the west, east, north and south," he said Saturday.

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