DONETSK, Ukraine, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Krasnoarmeisk town, in the west of Ukraine's turbulent Donetsk, is one of the region's few places where the presidential elections were held.
As of 9:30 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) Sunday, more than 100 residents had cast their votes in No. 141082 polling station. The station, registering some 1,000 of the region's eligible voters is not a big one.
"The voting has so far been going on orderly and smoothly here," said a staffer working at the station, adding "the situation does not come easy."
Ukrainians began casting their ballots Sunday morning to elect a new president for the next five years in an early election.
During the vote, which is held amid Ukraine's ongoing crisis, a total of 21 candidates are competing for the presidency, with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and businessman Petro Poroshenko, also known as the "Chocolate King," emerging as front runners.
If no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote, a run-off will be held on June 15.
Before Sunday, no reporters covering Ukraine's presidential elections knew whether polling stations would be deployed in Donetsk, which has been plunged into chaos following anti-government protests.
Xinhua reporters, who went through four check points to arrive at the scene, said the Krasnoarmeisk government building, where the office of the election committee was located, was guarded by heavily armed police forces. Inside the structure, phones and profiles of the candidates lined the corridor.
Staffers told the reporters who arrived at the building at around 8:00 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) that voting had begun in 50 polling stations in Krasnoarmeisk.
According to the reporters, not many people were around the No. 141082 polling station in Krasnoarmeisk's cultural palace, inside which there are three clear plastic boxes of one meter high each.
People have to produce their identification cards and find their names on a list of the region's eligible voters before they can get a ballot ticket.
A 55 year-old male voter named Victor said he came for Ukraine's unification and future. "I'm against war, interference and secession," said the man who declined to say for whom he had voted.
Two senior female voters said they had voted for Poroshenko. "We hope we could elect a president as quickly as possible to solve the country's crisis," they said.
Armed activists in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions established "people's republics" in early April and held referendums on their future status on May 11.
Organizers of the referendums said an overwhelming majority of the voters favored their regions' independence.