Speaking to reporters during the Russian-German governmental consultations, Russian President Putin confirmed that he will respect the result of the – less manipulated – re-run of the Ukrainian Presidential election next Sunday.
“I know Mr Yushchenko as I do the current Prime Minister Mr Yanukovich … He has also been a member of President (Leonid) Kuchma’s team, like Yanukovich, and so I don’t see any problem.”
Mr Putin also dismissed interpretations of the event that suggest he has been dealt a personal defeat. Not that anybody expected anything else, but I suppose hearing this will prevent some more people in Ukraine from playing electoral games this time.
Meanwhile, on Monday night Ukrainians could witness a tv debate with a kafkaesquely transformed Yanukovich. His increasing political isolation apparently became most evident when he, who had earlier accused his opponent, Mr Yushenko, of being an American puppet, suggested that the “Orange Revolution” was staged by the incumbent President Kuchma, with the knowledge of the opposition’s leader, in order to prevent him from opposing the Oligarchic system.
Mr Yanukovich, who had very recently supported secessionist sentiments in Eastern Ukraine, now sent his campaign staff to explain that it would be still unceratain if Yanukovich supporters would tolerate a Yushenko victory on the 26th, while he attempted to present himself as savior of national unity with an offer to create a government of “national unity”, and even asked for to be forgiven for insulting the Orange Protesters.