Darth Vader supporter Chewbacca arrested in Ukraine

Policemen detain a person dressed as Star Wars character Chewbacca during a regional election near a polling station in Odessa, Ukraine,

It's a sentence we never thought we'd write, but here goes: Chewbacca has been arrested in Ukraine after police say they caught him campaigning for Darth Vader.

A candidate, using the identity of the Star Wars Sith Lord has been running in local elections in the city of Odessa.

It's claimed the man dressed as Chewbacca had broken election day rules by campaigning on voting day.

It's being reported Chewbacca was fined the equivalent of a fiver.

He'd arrived at a polling station along with the candidate when police stepped in.

Of course, you might think it's odd Darth Vader was hoping to be elected mayor of Odessa.

It's not.

Darth Vader at a polling booth
Image caption Mr Vader at a polling station in Odessa

In fact if, like us, you follow every tiny detail of Ukrainian local politics you'll know this isn't the first time.

Chewbacca himself, along with Padme Amidala and Yoda, have all appeared on ballot papers.

It's thanks to the Internet Party of Ukraine who, for a few years, having been injecting a lighter side to Ukraine's tense political situation.

In the past Darth Vader's been seen being driven through the country's capital Kiev with stormtroopers by his side. Obviously.

He's also been known to blast the film's Imperial March through loud speakers.

Whether it's a mayoral election or a parliamentary race it's not clear if the same person is behind the mask each time Darth appears.

But whoever he (she?) is, he has a serious side. In addition to pledging to build a "galactic empire" he's also demanding more transparency in Ukrainian politics.

Darth Vader has even been given his own statue in Odessa.

The reworked statue of Darth Vader

The statue on this plinth used to be of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, who has remain a controversial figure among Ukrainians.

Lenin's statue was removed under laws banning references to Ukraine's communist past.

The sculptor Oleksandr Milov told the AFP news agency the Darth Vader movement "has been at the centre of Ukrainians' attention for many years".

"There are plans to build a Wi-Fi router into the statue's head so he can communicate with the other Siths," he added.

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