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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Sends Ukraine Congratulations

WASHINGTON -- The United States congratulated Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and the Ukrainian people on the outcome of Sunday's elections, despite some breaches of election law.

Ukrainians re-elected Kuchma with 56 percent of the vote against 38 percent for Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, but international observers said the vote was far from fair.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday that Kuchma's re-election was "an important endorsement by the Ukrainian people of a policy direction of continued political and economic reform and Western integration."

But observers said there had been many irregularities in voting and described campaigning as unfair.

"The second round was worse than the first. In my opinion, the elections were far from fair and democratic," a Council of Europe observer said.

The United States agreed with the observer, citing complaints of unbalanced media coverage and of government officials inappropriately helping the incumbent.