Ukranian president Petro Poroshenko joined thousands of war-weary Ukranians to vote for a new parliament and break with the country's Soviet past. Pavithra George reports.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko casts his vote for a new parliament and a break from the country's Soviet past. These are the first elections since last winter's protests in capital Kiev that saw, first, the ousting of Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine's pro-Russian former president - followed by an armed insurgency in the east, that Ukraine claims is backed by Russia. Sunday's elections are likely to install a pro-Western parliament - giving Poroshenko a mandate to pursue a path of pro-European reforms -- in what could further strain ties with Russia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "I'm not hoping, I'm absolutely sure that after this parliamentary election, after this form of support of pro-European forces including the presidential force, we will have a big, almost constitutional majority of the pro-European coalition. I think that this would be a victory of democracy, victory of European Ukraine." In Slaviansk, a former pro-Russia rebel stronghold, war-weary residents lined up to cast their vote - Emerging from polling booths draped in blue and yellow, the color of Ukraine's flag, some hoped their vote would bring positive changes. SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SLAVIANSK RESIDENT, LYUDMILA HERSHUN, SAYING: "(I voted) because new and young people will come. I hope they will have a different views on everything that is happening, especially after all these events. People have rethought everything. And I believe everything will be well in our country. Everything will be fine. I have this faith." Polls will close at 8 p.m. local time in Ukraine, with exit polls available almost immediately. Rebel-held regions in the east will hold their own elections on November 3.