Ukraine preps for parliamentary election even as it faces the challenges of war and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people inside its borders. Mana Rabiee reports.
In the Ukrainian capital Kiev, final touches for election workers. Russia's neighbor is heading into a crucial parliamentary election on Sunday. It's the first such vote since the country's Moscow-backed leader was ousted in February. Since then, Moscow has annexed Ukraine's Crimea, there's a separatist war in the east, some 3,700 people are dead from the fighting, and scores of Ukrainians are displaced within their own country. The sheer challenges make this vote "extraordinary", says the head of the European election observation mission here. But there's THIS, too, to worry about... (SOUNDBITE) (English) ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE) ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION LEADER, KENT HARSTEDT, SAYING: "We are concerned about reports that there might be violence either directed directly to polling stations or in the vicinity of the polling stations." There's been a tenuous cease fire in Ukraine since early September. But tell that to these government troops near the embattled airport in rebel-held Donetsk. The country may be on the eve of national elections but, in this village near the frontlines, there's little sign of national reconciliation. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) PARATROOPER FOR UKRAINIAN FORCES, NIKOLAI, SAYING: "Yesterday, during the day it was quiet for a little while. But at night, they resumed mortar attacks....And the previous day, we had a tank working against us, approximately from two kilometers away. The situation is tense." No less than 700 election monitors will be on hand Sunday. Separatists vow to block the vote in over a dozen eastern districts, saying they'll hold their own election in November. But with pro-Russian forces gone from parliament, President Petro Poroshenko is expected to easily form a pro-Western coalition…as he tries to extricate Ukraine from political instability and war.