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Ukraine's President Calls For Revote

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma says new presidential elections are needed "to preserve peace" and "build a democratic society," now split by a contested earlier vote.

Mr. Kuchma, who supported the disputed winner, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, called for a revote shortly after the Supreme Court began considering a challenge on the contested ballot's validity. The challenge was filed by Western-leaning opposition leader, Victor Yushchenko.

The pro-Russian Mr. Yanukovych earlier Monday said he would support a revote if claims of fraud are shown to be true.

The alleged fraud has prompted massive opposition protests in Kiev, and calls for autonomy in pro-Russian regions in the east.

The Interfax news agency quotes Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk as pledging that the armed forces would stay out of the presidential dispute. But, according to Ukrinform news agency, he said the military will defend the nation's territorial integrity.