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Putin vows to respect Ukraine vote, will work with new leaders

Published on May 24, 2014 1:20 PM
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014 (SPIEF 2014) in St. Petersburg on May 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP) - Ukraine's interim leaders are set to join prayers for peace on Saturday on the eve of a crucial presidential vote that Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to respect.

Mr Putin has in the past given only grudging backing to the election but on Friday said he was prepared to work with whoever was elected Ukraine's president in Sunday's vote.

"We understand that the people of Ukraine want their country to emerge from this crisis," he said at an economic forum in his home town of Saint Petersburg. "We will treat their choice with respect.

"We are today working with those people who control the government and after the election we will of course work with the newly elected authorities."

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