Kremlin-friendly political forces are making headway in Ukraine, and their leader says the time is ripe for further gains.
The advance may surprise those who watched protesters help realign the country -- a frequent battleground between Russia and the West since communism collapsed -- toward Europe just six years ago. The revolution prompted President Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea from his neighbor and foment the war on the two former allies’ border that rumbles on today.
But with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy increasingly bogged down in a scrap against the murky political system he was elected to banish, there’s a window to tap into growing disillusionment. The popularity of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, which supports stronger ties with Russia, is the highest it’s been since protesters toppled Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 as it consolidates backing among pro-Russian voters.