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Ukraine's Yanukovych Sidesteps Tymoshenko, Says October Vote Will Heal Rift With EU

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (right) meets with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele during the Yalta conference on September 14.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says he's confident his country's parliamentary elections next month will allay concerns in Europe about Ukraine's democratic course.

Speaking before EU officials at a conference in the Black Sea city of Yalta, Yanukovych said the October 28 vote would cause EU anxieties over Ukraine to "disappear" and clear the way for the "full integration" of the two sides.

The EU has put on hold a key cooperation deal with Ukraine because of objections over Kyiv's jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which the EU says is politically motivated.

Yanukovych did not address the issue of Tymoshenko, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence on abuse-of-office charges.

Her supporters are expected to present a strong challenge to Yanukovych's ruling Party of Regions in the elections.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters