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7 February, 2019

Tymoshenko goes low in Ukraine campaigning

Yulia Tymoshenko's controversial comments come at a time when the former Ukrainian prime minister's ratings appear to be suffering

As she slipped from the top spot in preelection polls, Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko has offered explosive and seemingly unsubstantiated claims this week in an apparent effort to climb back atop an expanding field.

The first accusation came on February 4, when the former prime minister accused President Petro Poroshenko's reelection campaign of attempting to buy Ukrainians' votes for 1,000 hryvnyas ($36). Without providing proof, she urged Ukraine's interior minister and prosecutor-general to launch probes into the matter. 

Members of Poroshenko's party, in turn, accused Tymoshenko's camp of bribing voters and improperly collecting their personal data.

But it was at the kickoff of Tymoshenko's nationwide campaign tour on February 5 in her hometown of Dnipro that especially resonated with her critics on social media. She told a crowd of supporters waving blue-and-yellow posters adorned with her "I Believe!" slogan that U.S.-born acting Ukrainian Health Minister Ulana Suprun was "sent by foreigners" who want to "experiment on Ukrainians." 

The full video of the campaign stop was published on Tymoshenko's Facebook page.

But it was a clip that highlighted the "experiment" comment shared by activist group EuroMaydan that quickly spread across Ukrainian social media.

Radio Liberty

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