Cleveland Plain Dealer: Amid Ukraine violence and election, Sen. Rob Portman is heading there
By Stephen Koff
May 22, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is going to Ukraine this weekend to get a look at the turmoil and instability – and to see the much-anticipated presidential election first-hand.
Russian loyalists and separatists have been battling forces loyal to the interim government in Kiev, with new clashes and killings in eastern and southern Ukraine reported daily. Some polling locations under separatist control may not be able to open on Sunday.
Yet postponing the election could cause more trouble.
Portman, an Ohio Republican, said today that he will be in the Kiev area Saturday and Sunday and will visit polling places, then on Monday will meet with U.S. troops working with NATO and based in Poland. Also going is Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland and some House of Representatives members whom Portman did not name.
"Basically, I'm there to show our support from the United States of America for self-determination for the Ukrainian people, to be sure that the voting is fair, that the ability of every individual in that country to influence their country is at the ballot box and not by the barrel of a gun, and I want to be sure that there are free and fair elections," Portman said.
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