Accessibility links

Ukraine on 'Verge of Civil Unrest', says Opposition Leader

Ukrainian opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko says his country is "on the verge of civil conflict" as protests over the country's presidential election head into a fifth day.

Mr. Yushchenko is rejecting the results from Sunday's voting, and is calling for a general strike. The opposition also says it will lodge a complaint with the Ukrainian Supreme Court on Thursday.

Election officials say pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych won slightly more than 49 percent of the vote. But Mr. Yanukovych says he can not personally accept the results until he was certain everything was done according to law.

Tens of thousands of Mr. Yushchenko's supporters have gathered in Kiev's Independence Square over the past several days to protest the election results.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has proposed holding talks with the opposition over Ukraine's disputed presidential race.

The opposition has called for a nationwide strike.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the outcome cannot be accepted as legitimate before allegations of widespread fraud are investigated. He also warned of consequences for Ukraine's relationship with the United States and urged authorities not to use force against pro-opposition demonstrators.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan says the results of Sunday's presidential election in Ukraine do not "reflect the true democratic will of the Ukrainian people." More than one million Canadians are of Ukrainian descent.

The U.S. Helsinki commission -- an agency which monitors progress on human rights -- declared its support for opposition demonstrators in Kiev in light of what it called "outright fraud and falsification" in the election.

But the Russian State Duma, in a resolution, condemned the Kiev demonstrations.

The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Solomon Pasi, urged Ukrainian authorities to thoroughly investigate reported irregultarities.

Russian officials say President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder discussed the situation by telephone and agreed that a solution should be found within the framework of Ukrainian law.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.