7 December 2004 -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has rejected Russian criticism of the West's role in Ukraine's election crisis, saying the United States and its allies are interested only in freedom for the Ukrainian people.
Powell denied allegations by Russian President Vladimir Putin who accused the West of playing "sphere of interest" politics in Ukraine by pushing its own interests in the name of democracy.
The secretary of state told reporters in Sofia, Bulgaria, today that the people of Ukraine are seeking democracy and freedom. Powell made the comments on the sidelines of an Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting.
Powell said spheres of influence is a term that isn't relevant to the circumstances that the world faces today. He said foreign policy strategies have changed radically since the end of the Cold War that saw the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Powell said all OSCE states had an interest in a swift, peaceful outcome of the crisis through a democratic process.
(RFE/RL/AFP)[To see an archive of RFE/RL's full coverage and analysis since the Ukrainian crisis began, click here.]