A SENIOR Poole councillor has flown to troubled Ukraine to monitor presidential elections.

Cllr Ann Stribley, who represents Parkstone, was due to land in the capital Kiev yesterday for a six-day visit to the country, which is in the midst of civil unrest.

She has been selected as a member of the Council of Europe Congress Delegation Team being sent to the country to monitor Sunday’s elections.

After two days in Kiev, she will move on to Cherkasy in central Ukraine and Kaniv, a city in the same province.

She will be accompanied by another member of the team and an interpreter.

“I’m sure this will be a very interesting assignment and I hope it will be a peaceful visit,” said Cllr Stribley, who has been on the council since 1977 and is a former mayor.

“I’m so glad to live in a country where we can generally agree to disagree without open hostilities,” she added.

Presidential elections were originally due to take place in the country, which has been the scene of much bloodshed, in March 2015 but were brought forward after the Russians annexed Crimea in March.

They were scheduled shortly after Viktor Yanukovich was toppled from the presidency in February following months of mass protests in Kiev.

The elections are seen as a crucial step in restoring the government’s legitimacy and preventing Ukraine falling apart or slipping into civil war.

However armed pro-Russia separatists have vowed to prevent voting taking place in the east of the country, attacking and disabling government buildings in the region.

And on the border Russia has stationed thousands of troops.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is sending a 52-member delegation to observe the presidential election.