United Nations, 22 May: As many as 127 people have died in several weeks of violence in east and south Ukraine, which will make it more difficult for the country to hold presidential elections in the region on Sunday, a UN official has said.

Ivan Simonovic, the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, made the statement while speaking to reporters outside the security council chamber, where he just briefed the 15-nation council at a closed-door meeting on the current situation in the eastern Ukraine following his trip to Ukraine 14-19 May, Xinhua reported.

“There are numerous cases of illegal detentions, of abductions, especially affecting journalists as well as members of the electoral commissions, which certainly will make the elections in the east of the country much more difficult,” he said.

A total of 18 candidates would compete for the country’s top post, with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and businessman Petro Poroshenko emerging as front runners.

The election was called after former President Viktor Yanukovych was forced out of office in February and fled to Russia soon afterwards.


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