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Ukraine's Yanukovych Admits Defeat After Court Ruling

20 January 2005 -- Ukraine's former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych today admitted defeat in a rerun presidential election hours after the Supreme Court rejected his final appeal over the 26 December 2004 vote.

Yanukovych, speaking from the eastern city of Donetsk in televised comments, said "the electoral campaign has ended." He called on supporters to remove small protest camps in several cities.

A Yanukovych representative, Nestor Shufrich, has said there will still be an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights over the poll.

Ukraine's parliament today voted to hold President-elect Viktor Yushchenko's inauguration on 23 January, setting the stage for the transition to a new government.

Outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and Russian President Vladimir Putin -- who both had backed Yanukovych -- have issued congratulations to Yushchenko.

Yushchenko says he will visit Moscow on 24 January, the day after his inauguration.