Ukraine’s opposition Party of Regions has warned of a possible attempt to disrupt the country’s presidential vote as three charter flights from Georgia carrying over 400 “athletic men” landed in the country.
On Sunday Ukraine will hold presidential elections. With former premier Viktor Yanukovych expected to win the first round of voting, after which he is likely to face a run-off against current premier Yulia Tymoshenko, pro-Western incumbent Viktor Yushchenko’s time in office would seem to be over.
On Friday two charter flights from with of 297 Georgian men onboard landed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Some of them had lists of all polling stations in the region. The Georgians, aged from 25 to 40, told border guards that the purpose of their visit was to meet with Ukrainian girls they met on social networking sites.
On Saturday another charter flight from Georgia with some 120 male passengers landed in the capital Kiev. The official purpose of their visit is unknown.
The Georgians were to “interfere in the electoral process… with an aim to change the outcome of the elections and disrupt the vote,” party member Mykola Azarov told a news conference on Saturday.
Ukraine’s central election body had earlier refused to register over 3,000 observers, sent by Georgia to Sunday’s presidential polls, citing the absence of necessary documents. The number of monitors from the Caucasus state exceeded the total number of observers sent by other states and international organizations.
A source in the Georgian opposition told RIA Novosti the visitors were related to Georgian special services and the military.
“The vast majority of them are servicemen. Some have identity documents with other names, almost all had undergone special training and have close-combat skills,” the source said.
He said they were to receive bonuses ranging from $20,000 to $32,000.
Party of Regions said it would seek visa regime with Georgia if an attempt to interfere in the elections is proved.