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I congratulate the people of Ukraine, who peacefully exercised their right to vote in Sunday’s presidential election. They showed their commitment to freedom and democracy and their determination to decide their own future.

I commend  the considerable efforts of the Ukrainian authorities to organise the election throughout the country.  Despite the criminal violence, intimidation and provocation by pro-Russian separatists, who tried to deny the people of Ukraine their democratic right , the election was declared by international observers to be largely in line with international commitments and respectful of fundamental freedoms.

NATO is committed to our distinctive partnership with Ukraine. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the new president, and we will continue to support efforts to find a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

NATO Allies will not recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. NATO supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without outside interference.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen

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