Donetsk, Feb 1 - DAN. Donetsk People’s Republic Head Denis Pushilin said that massive  fraud was expected in Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election, in particular in the regions where Kiev introduced martial law in December 2018.

“I very much doubt that Ukrainians will be allowed to express their opinion fair and square; I think that the worst pressure and fraud will happen in the regions where martial law operated, and if it’s reintroduced there, people will not be able to vote at all,” Pushilin said.

As for the prospects for a peaceful settlement of the Donbass conflict after the election in Ukraine, the DPR leader said that replacing just the president would not impact the Donbass peace process in a big way. “The whole government paradigm should be changed but this process is long and painful,” he added.

Ukraine will have its presidential election on March 31, 2019. According to the Ukrainian Central Election Commission’s latest reports, there are 26 hopefuls, including incumbent President Petr Poroshenko, former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, showman Vladimir Zelensky, former Communist Party leader Petr Simonenko, Lvov mayor Andrey Sadovoy and lawmaker Nadezhda Savchenko. *jk