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Putin Visits Ukraine Ahead Of Runoff Election

12 November 2004 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Ukraine to start a two-day visit.

The visit is taking place a little more than a week before the 21 November presidential runoff election between Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.

It is Putin's second visit to Ukraine during the presidential election.

Putin visited Kyiv just days before the 31 October first round and endorsed Yanukovych's policies. That visit also marked the 60th anniversary of Ukraine's liberation from Nazi troops.

Putin and outgoing Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma are due to meet first in the southern Russian port of Kavkaz before traveling to Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula on the Black Sea. The leaders are expected to sign two accords on transport links between Ukraine and Russia.

Final official results of the first-round vote showed Yushchenko slightly ahead of Yanukovych, each man with just under 40 percent of the vote.


[For full coverage of Ukraine's presidential elections, see RFE/RL's Ukraine web page.]