25 May 2014

Putin says he'll respect Ukraine election

9:02 am on 25 May 2014

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, says he will respect the outcome of Sunday's presidential election in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin. Photo: AFP

He says he's prepared to work with whomever is elected president, the BBC reports.

Presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, who formerly held the presidency, is lagging behind the frontrunner Petro Poroshenko in opinion polls

Mr Putin says he believes Ukraine has descended into civil war, but he understands that Ukrainians want their country to emerge from the current crisis.

He's again denied that Moscow is behind the violence in eastern Ukraine involving pro-Russia separatists.

Meanwhile, one of his deputy defence ministers says Russia will pull back all forces deployed to regions near its border with Ukraine "within a few days".