Russia Will Respect the Choice of Ukrainian People
Who Elected Their President – Gryzlov

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – Russia will respect the choice of the Ukrainian people who have elected their president, State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov told reporters on Tuesday.

"The choice has been made, and following inauguration Russia will no doubt congratulate the winner of the political marathon, and all steps will be made as presupposed by diplomatic practice," the chairman of the lower house said.

Gryzlov recalled that Russian observers in the course of a revote of the runoff identified a large number of irregularities, but the Ukrainian Central Election Commission found them insufficient to pass the appropriate decision.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, in his turn emphasized that the strengthening of cooperation between Russia and Ukraine meets the basic interests of the two nations.

"Russia, as nobody else, is interested in preserving Ukraine as a single and strong state, and ought to act as the consolidator of society if its services are called for," the committee head said.

Replying to the question by journalists if Russia should try to "placate the passions" in Ukraine’s eastern regions, the deputy said, "Certainly it should".

Kosachev said that he had no doubt that Moscow must recognize the Ukrainian Central Election Commission’s decision on the official returns of the presidential elections in that country.

The CEC of Ukraine, by a majority of votes, approved a decision on the voting results in the election of the country’s president. Viktor Yushchenko gained 51.99% of the vote, Viktor Yanukovich, 44.2%.

Yanukovich Refuses to Acknowledge His Defeat

KIEV (RIA Novosti) – Presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich has refused to acknowledge the outcome of the presidential elections held on December 26 and intends to appeal the results in the Supreme Court of Ukraine. He said as much at a briefing in Kiev.

According to him, the Yushchenko team resorted to administrative resources and exerted pressure on voters. "Over 800 volumes of registered violations substantiate our appeal to the Supreme Court, and prove graphically that our opponents won the so-called "third round" through violations and falsifications," said Yanukovich.

According to him, "this is the reason why we cannot admit the results of these elections as legal and acknowledge the legitimacy of the president elected in violation of the constitution and blatantly violating the rights and freedoms of millions of Ukrainians."

Yanukovich said he would defend his rights by all legal means. "I call upon the Supreme Court to consider our claim openly for the media in a live TV and radio broadcast, and to take a legal, and not political, decision," the presidential candidate emphasised.

He added that a legal group would be working in court, including lawyers of a Swiss company and five parliamentarians of the Supreme Rada (lower house). If the court finds the claim substantiated, further action should be taken in compliance with the Ukrainian law, Yanukovich said.

"If the court fails to meet our claim, we believe that we can proceed within the law and we will go to the European Court. We will never put up with the outcome of the ‘third round’. We will defend the rights of the Ukrainian people," noted Yanukovich.