Ukrainian opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko has accused his rival of trying to steal last month's flawed election.

During a debate in Kiev Monday, Mr. Yushchenko said the motivating force for a new vote is that Ukrainians desire a democratically elected government.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych tried to distance himself from former supporter and current President Leonid Kuchma. He said many Ukrainians lost hope after the breakup of the former Soviet Union, and that it was important for all political forces to work together.

Mr. Yushchenko made his opening remarks in Ukrainian. Mr. Yanukovych gave his in Russian.

Tensions remain high as both men have warned of potential clashes between supporters prior to the December 26th vote. Mr. Yushchenko's assertion that Ukrainian security officials poisoned him with a highly toxic form of dioxin has further inflamed the political divisions.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.