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After a full month of openly backing the handpicked successor to Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Vladimir Putin has suddenly reversed course and proclaimed his readiness to work with opposition candidate and frontrunner Viktor Yuschenko, the AP reports:
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who openly backed Viktor Yushchenko's rival for president of the Ukraine, said Tuesday he could work with an administration headed by the pro-Western candidate.
"We have worked with him already and the cooperation was not bad," Putin said during a visit to Germany. "If he wins, I don't see any problems."
Just a couple of weeks ago, Putin warned of a civil war in Ukraine if Yushchenko won a new run-off election. His comments sparked talks of secession in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has significant influence and where PM Viktor Yanukovych enjoys his greatest support. In fact, the AP also reports that Yushchenko's campaign caravan was denied entry into Donetsk by Yanukovych protestors, highlighting the severe tensions between the east and west.
Now that Putin has grudgingly conceded that he will work with whoever wins the new run-off, the east-west divide may heal somewhat after the election is over. Yanukovych, who has largely been abandoned by Kuchma and a significant amount of his power base, cannot feel too happy about Putin's concession.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Vladimir Putin appears to be waking up to "smell the coffee":After a full month of openly backing the handpicked successor to Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Vladimir Putin has suddenly reversed course and proclaimed his readiness to work with oppos... [Read More]
Tracked on December 21, 2004 1:42 PM
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