KIEV (Reuters) – Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate manufacturer, claimed the Ukrainian presidency with an emphatic election victory on Sunday, taking on a fraught mission to quell pro-Russian rebels and steer his fragile nation closer to the West.
A veteran survivor of Ukraine’s feuding political class who threw his weight and money behind the revolt that brought down his Moscow-backed predecessor three months ago, the burly 48-year-old won 55 percent in exit polls on a first-round ballot marred by the reality that millions were unable to vote in the troubled eastern regions.
KIEV/DONETSK (Reuters) – Ukrainians are widely expected to give a resounding endorsement to the overthrow of their last elected leader by voting on Sunday for presidential candidates promising close ties with the West, in defiance of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
But the absence of more than 15 percent of the electorate, in Russian-annexed Crimea and two eastern regions where fighting with pro-Moscow rebels continued on Saturday, may mar any result – and leave the Kremlin questioning the victor’s legitimacy, for all of a pledge by Putin to respect the people’s will.
KIEV/DONETSK (Reuters) – Ukraine’s interim government promised a clean presidential election on Sunday that would anchor the former Soviet state in the Western camp and show the world it would not be intimidated by Russia after weeks of violence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he would respect the choice of the Ukrainian people and would work with the new authorities. Moscow wanted stability, he said.
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk accused Russia on Friday of wanting to start World War Three by occupying Ukraine “militarily and politically”.
“The world has not yet forgotten World War Two, but Russia already wants to start World War Three,” Yatseniuk told the interim cabinet in remarks broadcast live. “Attempts at military conflict in Ukraine will lead to a military conflict in Europe.”