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Moscow says supporters of peace won Ukraine vote

AFP , Monday 27 Oct 2014
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Parties backing a peace process to end the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine won a clear victory at Sunday's parliamentary polls, Russia's deputy foreign minister said Monday.

"It is already clear that parties which support a peaceful resolution of the internal Ukrainian crisis received a majority," Grigory Karasin was quoted as saying by state-run Ria Novosti news agency.

Partial results showed that pro-Western and moderate nationalist parties were on course for a thumping election victory in polls that will cement Ukraine's shift towards Europe -- and away from Moscow -- under President Petro Poroshenko.

Pro-EU Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's People's Front grouping was fractionally in the lead on 21.6 percent ahead of Poroshenko's bloc on 21.5 after more than 40 percent of votes were counted, the election committee said.

The result of the poll was seen as key to reviving a flagging peace process to resolve a six-month pro-Moscow insurgency in the east that has killed 3,700 people and saw swathes of the industrial heartland boycott the vote.

Poroshenko signed a Kremlin-backed ceasefire deal and peace roadmap with rebels in September but deadly fighting has rumbled on in hotspots across the war-torn region.

"This is a new possibility for them to return to these agreements," Karasin said.

Ukraine's vote saw centrists who favour market economics and conservative values squeeze out more radical nationalists.

But Karasin claimed still that "openly nationalist and chauvinist forces received significant support."

"This creates an additional danger that that there will be more calls for the use of force, for bloodshed."

Russia's top diplomat Sergei Lavrov also begrudgingly conceded that the vote was legitimate despite "numerous violations" in the preparation of the poll.

"We hope that the new makeup of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) will allow for the formation of a government that will be constructive and not determined to continue a confrontational attitude to society and to Russia," Lavrov told TASS news agency.

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