Nine Buffalo-area residents will be joining with hundreds of other election observers for the upcoming Ukraine national and regional elections.
The contingent includes former Erie County Legislator Greg Olma and Yuri Hreshchyshyn, president of the Ukrainian-American Civil Center of Buffalo. They and four others will be flying out of JFK Airport in New York City at about midnight headed to Kiev, the Ukraine capital city.
Hreshchyshyn and Olma, a longtime friend who is making his third trip to Ukraine as an election observer, said three other Buffalo-area residents will be joining them in Kiev.
Hreshchyshyn, making his fifth trip as an election observer in Ukraine, said they are going through the Ukrainian Congress of America because, “as Americans, we are going to ensure there are free and fair elections in Ukraine.”
Olma and Hreshchyshyn said the nonprofit Committee for Open Democracy organization and various Ukraine-linked organizations are sending several hundred elections observers from all over the United States and Canada who will be joining a large number of observers from all over Europe.
Olma, now working as a Buffalo-area political consultant, said that he served as an election observer in Ukraine in both 2010 and 2012 and looks forward to the May 25 presidential election.
Olma and Hreshchyshyn said they also will be going to southern Ukraine cities, including Odessa, to observe elections in that region during their anticipated two-week stay in the country.
Olma and Hreshchyshyn will be traveling with fellow observers Izydor Karbowski, Tonija Droczak and Buffalo attorneys Daire Brian Irwin and Kamali Liyanage. Tuesday, they will be joined in Kiev by fellow Buffalonians Emil Bandriwisky, Yuri Darmograi and Sofia Kenn.