(Warsaw, Poland) - An Ohio senator who observed Ukraine’s presidential election this weekend says the experience in the crisis-torn European nation was inspiring and he viewed it as a legitimate election.

Twenty-one candidates competed Sunday to become Ukraine’s next leader. With votes from 80 percent of the precincts counted Monday, Petro Poroshenko was leading with about 54 percent of the vote.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio told Newsradio WTAM 1100, and other reporters in a conference call Monday that he visited six polling locations in the suburbs of the capital of Kiev.

Portman explained that lines were long at polling places but she saw no one leave because of a wait times. He said people were intent on electing someone who will stand up to Russia.


Senator Rob Portman

The Republican lawmaker said he declined an opportunity to meet with Poroshenko ahead of the election, because he felt it was important that American observers there not take sides.

Portman was spending Memorial Day in Poland, where he visited with U.S. military personnel.

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(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)