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Ukrainian Opposition Charges Voting Irregularities

Kyiv, 21 November 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A spokesman for Ukrainian opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko says more than 2,500 observers are not being allowed to enter polling stations to monitor today's presidential election in Ukraine.

Spokesman Mykola Katerynchuk said local and foreign observers are not being allowed to enter 60 polling stations in the Donetsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Odesa, Sumy, and Zaporizhia regions.

Meanwhile, ombudswoman Nina Karpacheva, speaking at the Central Election Commission in Kyiv, said she has received over 800 vote-related complaints from voters.

Today's runoff election sees Moscow-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych against Western-leaning Yushchenko, who very narrowly won a first round vote last month.

The election is seen by many as deciding whether Ukraine will develop closer ties with Western Europe or tighten ties with Moscow.

(RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service/Interfax-Ukraine/AP/dpa/AFP/ITAR-TASS)