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U.S. Warns Ukraine On Election

Kyiv, 29 October 2004 (NCA) -- U.S. officials say Ukraine could face punitive measures if the 31 October presidential election is not free and fair.

The warning came in a statement from the U.S. mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE).

It did not specify which measures might be considered, but said "bilateral relations and integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions will suffer."

The statement denounced strong media pressure and the government's support of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate favored by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma.

Some 160 journalists from six leading private television channels today issued a statement protesting media pressure.