Desperate Ukrainians went to surreal extremes on Sunday in apparent attempts to influence a fiercely contested parliamentary election that has split the country.
But it was unlikely the kidnappings, ballot-box smashing or hit-and-run vote-stuffing would affect the poll, in which allies of the Western-leaning president are neck-and-neck with those of his Moscow-backed prime minister.
Two men in black drove a black Mercedes to a polling station in the southern region of Crimea and forced two election officials into their car, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
They drove them to the edge of the town, "told them to behave themselves in a democratic manner and let them go," a police source told the news agency. The motive for the kidnapping was unclear.
Meanwhile, in an unfortunate attempt to make his vote count, a man wanted for mugging in the Cherkassy region went to the local police station to get a passport so he could cast a ballot, Interfax reported. He was swiftly arrested.
Others decided to bypass the legal niceties and take direct action.
A woman in nearby Kirovgrad region grabbed a handful of ballots and stuffed them into a ballot box before running out of the station, Interfax reported.
And in the Crimea, a drunk arrived at a polling station and smashed a ballot box with his foot, an official said, although it was unclear if he was hoping to affect the tallies.
"We are investigating if he did it on purpose or it was an accident," a police spokeswoman said.
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