A member of the election commission prepares ballot boxes at one of the polling stations in Kiev on May 24, 2014, a day before the presidential election in Ukraine. AFP PHOTO / ANATOLII STEPANOV
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Ukraine's interim government promised a clean presidential election on Sunday that would anchor the former Soviet state in the Western camp and show the world it would not be intimidated by Russia after weeks of violence.Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that he would respect the choice of the Ukrainian people and would work with the new authorities. In the eastern region where at least 20 people have been killed in the past few days, pro-Moscow separatists said on Saturday they did not recognise a vote organised by authorities in Kiev they say took power in a Western-backed coup and officials said many electoral districts would be out of action. That could dent what the government hopes will be a massive nationwide turnout to give a mandate for closer ties with the EU and force Moscow to deal with a Kiev leadership that took power three months ago when the elected president fled to Russia.Keeping up a war of words with Moscow against a background of Russian and NATO buildups around Ukraine's borders, the Ukrainian foreign ministry issued a statement on Saturday saying border guards had seized armed men in several vehicles trying to cross the frontier from Russia illegally overnight.
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