Ukraine president holds 1-man 'debate' before runoff vote

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Ukraine president holds 1-man 'debate' before runoff vote
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures as he answers to a journalist's question ahead of the presidential elections on April 21, at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, April 14, 2019. The event Sunday was the latest unusual scene in the fight between Poroshenko and Zelenskiy, the comedian whom polls show holding a commanding lead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

MOSCOW (AP) — With one week remaining until Ukraine’s presidential election runoff, President Petro Poroshenko has come to the country’s largest sports stadium for a proposed debate where his opponent didn’t show up.

There also weren’t any spectators in Kiev’s Olimpiskiy Stadium, though a large crowd stood outside to listen to a broadcast of Poroshenko making a statement and answering journalists’ questions. He stood next to an empty lectern bearing challenger Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s name.

The event Sunday was the latest unusual scene in the race between Poroshenko and Zelenskiy, a comic actor whom polls show holding a commanding lead.

Zelenskiy, who’s never held office, had challenged Poroshenko to a debate in the stadium two days before April 21 election, but Poroshenko wanted it to be held Sunday. Zelenskiy never agreed to the Sunday debate.