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November 24, 2004
Ukrainian Election Results Certified; US Rejects Them

The Ukraine certified its presidential election results, naming Russia's handpicked successor to the outgoing administration the winner. Meanwhile, the US pushed its Russian relationship further by rejecting the results and calling for a review of the election:

Ukraine's election commission declared the Kremlin-backed prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, the winner of the country's bitterly disputed presidential election, sharpening a crisis sparked by the opposition candidate's allegations that the vote was fraudulent. ...

Prime Minister Yanukovych got 49.61 percent of Sunday's vote, against Yushchenko's 46.61 percent, the commission said in giving its final results.

Secretary of State Colin Powell announced afterwards that the United States would not accept the results of the election:

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday the United States cannot accept the results of elections in Ukraine, which the opposition says was marred by fraud.

Powell warned "there will be consequences" for the United States' relationship with Ukraine as a result of the developments in the former Soviet bloc nation. ...

Powell said he spoke with outgoing Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma and urged that his government not crack down on demonstrators. He also spoke with other regional leaders, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Powell did not elaborate about his conversation with Lavrov, but said he advocated a solution to the crisis in Ukraine that is "based on the law, using legal procedures."

Whether Kuchma follows Powell's advice remains to be seen, but I doubt that the Kuchma government or an attempt by Yanukovych to assume the presidency based on the election would survive if he did. The demonstrators have numbered in the tens of thousands already, even without overt support from the army and the police. However, asking either to put down the demonstrations may result in an unpleasant surprise about the level of support Kuchma and the Kremlin enjoy in the Ukraine. Armed suppression of the popular uprising would permanently delegitimize Yanukovych -- which leaves everyone in a difficult position.

Kudos to the Bush Administration for standing on principle, rather than allowing themselves to get massaged by Vladimir Putin. Perhaps his announcement of pursuing a new generation of nuclear weapons woke up a few people to the nature of the Putin regime, even with his ample cooperation on Islamist terror.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 24, 2004 12:44 PM

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» Getting uglier from SCSU Scholars
Captain Ed says good for them: Kudos to the Bush Administration ... Ed is less correct, I fear, about the delegitimation of Yanukovych if the troops are used (whether the troops are Russian or Ukrainian). The country has a history of tension betwe... [Read More]

Tracked on November 24, 2004 2:03 PM

» More from Ukraine from The Desert Tusk
The opposition leader is calling for strikes after Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was declared the winner of the presidential election. [Read More]

Tracked on November 24, 2004 3:59 PM

» Could this be the trigger for the coming Willing vs. Weasel war? from cerdipity
It's gonna happen eventually. Something like the current controversy over the Ulkrainian election could easily be the trigger. The pieces are already in place. I can envision US, Britain, Australia, Poland and others versus France, Germany, Belgium, Ir... [Read More]

Tracked on November 24, 2004 9:39 PM

» Ukraine Mess Gives Left Fodder from The Kool Aid Report
I am just cynical enough to think that there are people on the left, who have not settled back into post-election ennui, who will use the Ukraine debacle to cast doubt once more on the outcome of our own election three weeks ago. [Read More]

Tracked on November 25, 2004 11:48 AM

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