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Ukraine's Yanukovych Denies Calling For Force

Kyiv, 14 December 2004 -- Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych today denied he supported the use of force against opposition demonstrators who packed the streets of Kyiv after the disputed presidential election.

Yanukovych told reporters that the information was "false," and that he had not taken part in discussions of this question.

The "Financial Times" today quoted Ukrainian sources as saying Yanukovych had lobbied outgoing President Leonid Kuchma to send in troops after demonstrations blockaded his and other offices.

The report said about 2,000 anti-riot police deployed in the area but were called off when European Union mediators urged restraint.

The Supreme Court later annulled the election and opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko is now seen as favorite to win the repeat runoff on 26 December.

Yushchenko supporters expanded their election campaign today, organizing a convoy that will visit 15 cities in the coming days -- including eastern provinces that are the heartland of Yanukovych's support.


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