Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States cannot accept the official results of the Ukrainian election as legitimate because of widespread fraud charges. But he told reporters it is not too late to find a solution to the election dispute that respects the will of the Ukrainian people.
Mr. Powell repeated that there "will be consequences" for the U.S.-Ukrainian relationship if authorities in Kiev do not act immediately and responsibly to address the complaints about the election. But he said the U.S. focus is on helping find a peaceful way to resolve the political crisis and not on punitive action
"Right now we're looking at a way to move forward, not a way to punish or to do anything else but to move forward peacefully to get a result that reflects the will of the Ukrainian people," he added.
Mr. Powell said he had spoken earlier in the day with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to caution him against any use of force against election protesters, and had also had a similar conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.