24 November 2004 -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said today the United States cannot accept as legitimate the result of Ukraine's presidential election.
Powell told reporters at the State Department that the 21 November runoff election failed to meet international standards.
"We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse," Powell said.
The secretary of state urged Ukraine's government to respect the will of the people and warned that if it failed to do so, there would be consequences for the relations between the two countries.
He spoke shortly after election officials in Ukraine declared that Kremlin-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych won the balloting.
Following the announcement, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko said he does not recognize the victory of his opponent.
Yushchenko, addressing a crowd of supporters in Kyiv, called for a nationwide general strike.