Jan. 19, 2010, midnight
Russia will dispatch an ambassador to Ukraine after a delay of several months, said Russian President Dmitry MEDVEDEV. Relations between the countries have chilled in recent years over several issues including access to energy markets and relations with NATO. MEDVEDEV expressed optimism that Ukraine's next President will seek closer ties to Moscow. His announcement came soon after Sunday’s first-round election defeat of President Victor YUSHCHENKO. YUSHCHENKO emerged with less than six percent of votes, while YANUKOVYCH and TYMOSHENKO won 35 and 25 percent, respectively. Many of YANUKOVYCH'S votes came from the Russian-speaking east and south of the country, while TYMOSHENKO'S support was largely concentrated in northern and central Ukraine. YANUKOVYCH and TYMOSHENKO will face each other in a runoff on February 7.