Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday on his victory in Ukraine’s presidential election.
“Medvedev has congratulated Yanukovych on the completion of the election campaign, which was given a high assessment by international observers, and his victory in the presidential election,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia also congratulated Yanukovich and urged the new Ukrainian leader to assume “responsibility to God, people and history.”
The Ukrainian Central Election Commission has not officially announced the results of the election, and Yanukovych’s opponent in Sunday’s runoff vote, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, has not conceded defeat.
With 99.95% of ballots counted, opposition leader Yanukovych has an insurmountable 3.47 percentage point lead over Tymoshenko, whose camp signaled they would contest the outcome of the polls.
The Kremlin was quick to congratulate Yanukovych in 2004, when initial results gave him victory over Viktor Yushchenko in an election that international observers declared flawed.
Demands for a recount triggered the “Orange Revolution,” led by Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, which forced a rerun of the second round of the election that was won by Yushchenko.