Tensions in Kiev, Odessa as Russians Vote in General Elections

File photo, EPA/BGNES

Scuffles have broken out in front of Russia's diplomatic services in Kiev and Odessa as Russia goes to the polls.

Clashes have erupted between police and protesters against Russia's policies toward Ukraine, Interfax has reported.

No-one has been seriously hurt. Those involved in the Kiev protests, where the developments occurred in front of Moscow's embassy, have been numbered as nearly a hundred and rising.

A man has been detained there for trying to confront police after storming the building along with several others.

In Odessa, local nationalist organizations have attempted to block the voting process at the Russian consulate. Three have been arrested.

Russia is holding a general election for the first time since the country plunged into a crisis and also since it incorporated the Crimean peninsula in its territory in 2014. Elections are also being conducted in the peninsula. Ukraine has demanded that they be scrapped, a call Russia has refused to heed, describing it as "ludicrous".

Four parties are expected to enter the legislature - the same ones that did in the last election, - with the biggest party, ruling United Russia poised to gain the best result. Liberal Yabloko ("Apple") party, which describes itself as a strong opposition, has been hoping to get into Parliament as well.

Some 111.6 million Russian citizens are eligible to vote.

The mixed (proportional and majority) system is being used again in general elections for the first time since 2003, with 225 MPs to be elected out of party tickets and as many to make it into parliament representing 1-seat constituencies.  

Turnout as of 18:00 Moscow time was measured nearly 40%, according to electoral officials quoted by TASS. The...

Continue reading on: