Ukrainians back Poroshenko as Kiev looks west

 
Kate McCann
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Voters in Ukraine have backed pro-European President Petro Poroshenko following a fraught election campaign, as the nation battles to recover from intense fighting with separatists in the east of the country.

Poroshenko’s party looks to have gained around 25 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls last night, with other parties, including government ally the People’s Front, also receiving strong backing.

The elections might mark the beginning of a period of increased stability in Ukraine, following conflict has so far claimed the lives of 3,000 people, seen large areas of eastern Ukraine declare independence and the annexation of Crimea by pro-Russian separatists.

Separatist groups ruling the Donetsk and Luhansk regions will hold elections next weekend as they no longer recognise the government in Ukraine.

Almost 30 parties vied for votes in the election, including allies of ousted president Viktor Yanukovich.

Former fuel minister Yuriy Boiko achieved 7.6 per cent of the vote, enough to win seats in the national parliament.