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Europe

Putin Visits Kiev Ahead of Key Vote

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Ukraine ahead of the country's knife-edge general election, as critics accuse him of attempting to influence the result.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Ukraine ahead of the country's knife-edge general election, as critics accuse him of attempting to influence the result. Putin's visit comes four days before Ukrainians go to the polls, in an election that could decide the country’s future outlook -- whether it veers towards Moscow or towards Brussels. In the run up to Sunday’s elections historical fault lines have been exposed, dividing the country between east and west. Much of the pro-Russian east of the country is backing Viktor Yanukovich while a majority in the West supports opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. The campaigns have been marred by violence and accusations of malpractice. According to press reports, Yushchenko has described the Russian President’s visit as "untimely". He however rejected claims that in such a close vote Russian influence could make the difference. (EUobserver.com)

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