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Ukrainian presidential election viewed from Russia

Ukrainian presidential election viewed from Russia
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The presidential election in Ukraine has evoked huge interest in Russia. Now that the winner is clear, the question is: what comes next? How will the relationship between the two states develop and can the ongoing crisis be overcome? Euronews journalist Marina Ostrovskaya spoke to Russian TV channel RTR journalist Evgeny Popov to get his perspective.

Marina Ostrovskaya, euronews:
Hello Evgeny. You know the situation in Ukraine very well. What is the mood in Russia, looking at the election results, and in your opinion how is Russia going to conduct relations with its neighbour which has now chosen its new leader?

Evgeny Popov:
I think that a lot of people in Russia felt they could relax a bit after the election took place on Sunday. A lot of people accepted the results because at least this was the first event that looked like it was more or less legal. And this election is the first legitimate process during the last half-a year of chaos. If we speak about the future relationship between Kyiv and Moscow I think everybody here will stick to their positions because Russia has announced its conditions many times.

Dmitry Yarosh (Ukranian far-right party) got the support of less than 1% of Ukrainians. Moscow blamed Kyiv for having fascist and extremist support. Will Russia change its rhetoric now?

Evgeny: Indeed only 0,68% of the voters supported the “Right sector” candidate Yarosh. But let’s have a look at who came in after Poroshenko. It was Tymoshenko and she has said before (in a private discussion) about dropping an atomic bomb on Moscow. Then Oleg Lyashko finished after her and he’s a fascist, to my mind an unbalanced person who is leading and taking part in the punitive operation in the east (of Ukraine). So if we add up all the nationalists’, extreme nationalists’ and fascist votes that’s more than 30%.

To solve the accumulated problems with Russia and “never recognising Crimea as a part of Russia” – this is what Petro Poroshenko declared in his first speech as president. How has this been received in Moscow ?

As you know we have no official reaction from the president yet. But if we remember the speech Vladimir Putin gave in St Petersburg, he said that Russia would talk to and negotiate with the new Ukranian officials. Now it’s necessary to understand what position Petro Poroshenko takes. He supports the powerful suppression of the uprising in the South-East. But what’s more – it’s not an easy situation for him right now: he has to please Washington and West Ukraine at the same time. And he needs to start a dialogue with the South-East. But the first thing he has to do is to prove his credibility.