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Presidents of Russia, Ukraine Hold Talks on Disputed Ukrainian Election - 2004-12-02


Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, about the disputed presidential run-off in Ukraine.

The Interfax news agency says Mr. Putin expressed concern about the possibility of a split in Ukraine, and thanked Mr. Kuchma for his efforts to strengthen Ukraine's national integrity.

He also reportedly criticized calls for a repeat of the disputed vote, and said the crisis can only be solved by the people of Ukraine.

Mr. Kuchma flew to Russia Thursday for the meeting. He reportedly said Russia's help is necessary in resolving the crisis.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Supreme Court continues hearings on opposition claims of fraud in the November 21st run-off.

The election rivals, pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and Western-leaning opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, have agreed to wait until the court issues a ruling before meeting again on the dispute.

Mr. Yanukovych was declared the election winner, prompting mass opposition protests.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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