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World Leaders React to Ukrainian Vote Crisis

World leaders are reacting to reports of fraud in Ukraine's disputed presidential election and are urging the opposing sides to avoid violence.

The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Solomon Pasi, urged Ukrainian authorities to thoroughly investigate irregularities that his group's observers said they witnessed during the vote.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called on all parties to avoid violence. 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. Earlier, Mr. Schroeder noted that an OSCE report found massive fraud, and he voiced hope for a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis.

The Russian State Duma, in a resolution, condemned opposition demonstrators in the streets of Kiev. Meanwhile, Pope John Paul II told an audience at the Vatican he is praying for the former Soviet republic.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.