- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 17, 2010

KIEV — Ukraine’s presidential election results giving the victory to Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych were suspended Wednesday pending review of his rival’s appeal.

Ukraine’s Administrative Court said it would rule on Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s appeal by Feb. 25, when lawmakers had planned to inaugurate Mr. Yanukovych.

Ms. Tymoshenko has refused to concede, claiming the election was tainted by fraud.

Until the ruling, the court said, it was suspending the Central Election Commission’s declaration that Mr. Yanukovych had won the Feb. 7 vote by just 3.5 percentage points.

On Tuesday, Ms. Tymoshenko delivered what she said was evidence to the court and urged a full recount of the vote.

She asked her supporters, however, not to hold street demonstrations, as they did in what became known as the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Those pro-Western mass protests led to a court overturning Mr. Yanukovych’s presidential election victory that year and ordering a rerun, which was won by Ms. Tymoshenko’s ally Viktor Yushchenko.

International observers have deemed Ukraine’s latest election free and fair, dealing a blow to Ms. Tymoshenko’s chances of mounting a successful court challenge. President Obama and other leaders have already congratulated Mr. Yanukovych.

Anna German, the vice chairwoman of Mr. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, dismissed the court deliberations as a “mere formality.”

“These proceedings can’t overturn the obvious: The majority of Ukrainians have voted for Yanukovych,” she said. “The entire world has recognized Yanukovych’s victory.”

Mr. Yanukovych campaigned on promises to improve ties with Russia, which became strained as pro-Western Ms. Yushchenko sought NATO and EU membership for Ukraine.

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