‘Does Putin know he’s running?’ Poroshenko mocked for dragging Russian president into campaign ad

‘Does Putin know he’s running?’ Poroshenko mocked for dragging Russian president into campaign ad
Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko made people scratch their heads when his pompous campaign ad managed to suggest that he is running against none other than Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

With the presidential campaign in full swing, Poroshenko formally announced that he will seek a second term on Tuesday. However, one of his latest ads raised a few eyebrows as it implied that the incumbent leader of Ukraine will be running not against any local contender but Vladimir Putin himself.

The Russian president is, of course, not participating in the race. Poroshenko has more than 20 actual opponents, most of whom are established, well-known Ukrainian politicians. Yet, his campaign kicked off by brandishing the slogan: “It’s either Putin, or Poroshenko.”

The phrase appeared on large screens during a media event in Kiev where Poroshenko announced his candidacy. It was accompanied by close-up shots of Poroshenko juxtaposed with Putin in way that made it seem like the men were glaring at each other.

The ad surprised local reporters. “When this argument gets tossed around by anonymous commenters online, who suggest that those daring to criticize the government are all agents of the Kremlin… you think that some idiots are controlling the bots,” wrote Ukrainian journalist Maryana Pyetsukh, who was among the first to draw attention to the ad.

 “But now it’s obvious that it’s not just the idiots. It was part of the plan,” she stated.

The audience was equally “baffled” by the “weird” choice of words, Ukrainian UNIAN news agency reported.

“Have you noticed that no one is campaigning to vote for Putin more ardently than Poroshenko’s strategists?” journalist Leonid Shvets said.

The bizarre slogan didn’t go unnoticed by the Kremlin, with the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova also chiming in.

“Does Putin know that he can be elected in Ukraine instead of Poroshenko? I wonder what the ballots will look like.”

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Meanwhile Poroshenko faces a highly-combative race. According to one recent poll, he is trailing behind his primary opponent, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko with just 9 percent, and has the same poll numbers as political rookie, stand-up comedian and actor, Vladimir Zelensky. Another poll places the incumbent president ahead of Tymoshenko but behind Zelensky.

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