On 31 March, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko suffered a double-digit defeat in the presidential election’s first round to comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, whose only previous political experience is playing the president on television. The incumbent is widely expected to lose a second and final time in Sunday’s runoff vote. Zelensky’s campaign has hinged on shying away from policy specifics, while appealing to voters who are wary of Poroshenko’s increasingly familiar rhetoric about containing Russian aggression and promises of Westernisation. The comedian blames Moscow for the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, but says both sides should “just stop shooting”. He says he favours integration with the West, but questions whether European states will ever treat Ukraine as a peer.… Seguir leyendo »
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It is common for Ukrainian officials and their international backers to say that Russia’s 2014 invasion, which was partly motivated by Moscow’s anger at Ukraine pivoting toward Europe and the U.S., has unified the country and turned it even more resolutely westward. In one sense, they are correct: Moscow’s aggression has consolidated support among many Ukrainians for membership in the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
But talk of unity among Ukraine’s 44 million people is misleading. It leaves out over two million inhabitants of Crimea, annexed by Russia, and up to three million residents of Donbas, the eastern region of Ukraine partly controlled by Moscow-backed rebels.… Seguir leyendo »