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Russia ready to speak with new Ukrainian president

By The Associated Press

This article was published May 26, 2014 at 8:49 a.m.

MOSCOW -- Moscow is ready for a direct dialogue with Ukraine's new president and doesn't need any Western mediation, Russia's foreign minister said Monday.

Sergey Lavrov said Russia has a positive view on Ukraine's presidential vote and is ready to deal with billionaire candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko, who holds a commanding lead, according to early returns.

Lavrov said that Russia noted Poroshenko's statements about the importance of normalizing ties with Moscow and the need to establish a dialogue with eastern regions, where pro-Russia insurgents have seized government buildings and fought government troops.

He said that "we are ready for dialogue with Kiev representatives, with Petro Poroshenko." He added that "we don't need any mediators," in a reference to a possible role of the United States and the European Union in such talks.

With votes from 60 percent of precincts counted early Monday, Poroshenko was leading the Ukrainian elections with about 54 percent in the field of 21 candidates. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was running a distant second with 13 percent.

The 48-year-old billionaire, who claimed victory after exit polls showed him with a commanding lead in Sunday's vote, has said he supports strong ties with Europe but also wants to mend ties with Russia.

Speaking after the polls closed, Poroshenko promised a dialogue with residents of eastern Ukraine and to guarantee their rights, including the right to speak Russian. He said he was ready to extend amnesty to those who haven't taken up weapons and that meetings with Russia should be held as soon as possible.

"And I think that Russia is our neighbor. And without Russia it would be much less effective or almost impossible to speak about the security in the whole region or maybe about the global security," Poroshenko said.

The election, which came three months after pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was chased from office by crowds following months of street protests and allegations of corruption, was seen as a critical step toward resolving Ukraine's protracted crisis.

Since his ouster, Russia has annexed the Crimea Peninsula in southern Ukraine, the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk have declared their independence from Kiev, and the interim Ukrainian government has launched an offensive in the east to quash an uprising that has left dozens dead.


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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 total comments

FreeSpiritMan says... May 26, 2014 at 8:25 p.m.

Another so called crisis handled correctly by the Obama administration. We do not need to mediate anything between Ukraine and Russia, it is none of our business. If we had listened to the right wing nuts we would have burned bridges behind us. Let's see how this plays out.

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FreeSpiritMan says... May 26, 2014 at 9:40 p.m.

I guess we should rushed in with guns blazing to make John McCain happy, when he does not even know what is happening at the VA in his own hometown.

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2boxers says... May 26, 2014 at 11:12 p.m.

please name me one congressman or senator that asked for military involvement. its none of our business.

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FreeSpiritMan says... May 26, 2014 at 11:36 p.m.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Friday lamented the lack of a military option for the United States in Ukraine against Russia and criticized President Obama for thinking the Cold War is over.
(CNN) - Speaking in Kiev, Sen. John McCain called Saturday for the United States to provide long-term military assistance to Ukraine, saying it is "the right and decent thing to do," as reports surfaced that Russian troops had traveled farther north into Ukraine from Crimea.

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