International election observers say they have fanned out across Ukraine in preparation for the January 17 presidential contest.
Jens-Hagen Eschenbacher, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said today in Kyiv that about 600 OSCE election monitors are in place, in addition to thousands of other foreign observers.
Polls show Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko trailing former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, with the possibility of a second-round runoff if neither has a majority.
Another prominent candidate, President Viktor Yushchenko -- who beat Yanukovych in the 2004 "Orange Revolution" -- is not expected to make it to a second round.
Both Tymoshenko and Yanukovych promise to improve ties with Russia that suffered under the pro-Western Yushchenko. Tymoshenko has told RFE/RL
that as prime minister she managed to steer Ukraine out of economic crisis. with agency reports