Ukrainian presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko, left, shake hands with Vitali Klitschko during their press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)
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In a news conference on Monday, Poroshenko made clear his most urgent task is finding a modus vivendi with the giant neighbour that has seemed poised to carve Ukraine up since a pro-Russian president was ousted in a popular revolt in February.Ukraine's military forces have had little success against rebels who have declared independent "people's republics" in the eastern industrial heartland.Many Ukrainians clearly rallied behind the frontrunner as a way to demonstrate national unity, three months after a pro-Russian president was ousted in a popular revolt and Moscow responded by seizing the Crimea peninsula, massing troops on the frontier and expressing sympathy with armed separatists.A veteran survivor of Ukraine's feuding political class, Poroshenko served in cabinets drawn from governments on both sides of Ukraine's pro- and anti-Russian divide, but threw his weight and money behind the revolt that brought down his Moscow-backed predecessor in February. Claiming a popular mandate for a resumption of efforts to bind the nation of 45 million into association with the European Union -- a drive that triggered the whole crisis six months ago -- Poroshenko said he was ready to negotiate with Putin and called Russia a vital partner.
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