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MOSCOW, May 28 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s presidential election should put an end to Kiev’s punitive operation against pro-federalization activists in the country’s Southeast, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday at an Easter reception in the Foreign Ministry’s Reception House in downtown Moscow.
“I believe that of special significance is the call by His Holiness for peace and accord in Ukraine, reconciliation of those at enmity, ensuring the rights and freedoms of all citizens,” Lavrov said while commenting on the speech of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill who said bloodshed should be stopped in Ukraine.
“The May 25 presidential election should finally contribute to termination of the punitive operation and any other violence, expand opportunities for dialogue and resolution of all problems by exclusively peaceful means through ensuring the rights and interests of all Ukrainian regions,” Lavrov said.
On Tuesday, Patriarch Kirill sent a congratulatory message to Ukraine’s president-elect Pyotr Poroshenko.
“I am convinced that in the current situation, it is necessary to maintain open dialogue with the people and public leaders, listen to the opinion of all citizens of the country,” the message in particular said.
An early presidential election, set by Ukraine’s provisional authorities in Kiev who came to power amid riots during a coup in the country in February, was held in Ukraine on Sunday, May 25.
With 99.42% of electronic vote protocols processed, billionaire businessman and politician Poroshenko is leading with 54.71% of the vote, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission (CEC) reported Wednesday.
Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories saw massive protests against the coup-imposed Ukrainian authorities after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.
Demonstrators in southeastern regions, who have been demanding the country’s federalization, seized some government buildings. Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against pro-federalization activists that has already reportedly claimed dozens of lives, including civilian.