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Poroshenko claims Ukraine presidency

May 25, 2014 6:41 pm

Ukrainian confectionery tycoon Petro Poroshenko has claimed outright victory in the country’s presidential election.

Mr Poroshenko, known as the “chocolate king”, won more than 55% of the vote in the first round, exit polls suggest.

Announcing he had won, the 48-year-old businessman promised to forge closer links with the EU and restore peace in restive eastern regions.

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Pro-Russian separatists severely disrupted voting there. Some 20 people have died in fighting in recent days.

No polling stations were open in Donetsk city, and across the region only seven out of 12 district electoral commissions were operating. The separatists are in control of large areas of the Donestk and Luhansk regions.

Ukrainian officials say turnout was high in the rest of the country.

Speaking to supporters in Kiev, Mr Poroshenko said he would support a parliamentary election later this year.

He also said he would never recognise Russia’s “occupation of Crimea”, annexed by Moscow in March. Asked about relations with Russia, he said the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine mattered most to him.

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