May 24 - Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright expresses support for the Ukrainian presidential elections in meeting with candidate Yulia Tymoshenko. Vanessa Johnston reports.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright greet each other with a hug. Albright is in Kiev to lead a team of international observers for Sunday's election. Kiev's pro-Western leaders hope the vote will stabilize the former Soviet republic after street protests toppled Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich, and pro-Russian separatists responded by seizing Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, YULIA TYMOSHENKO, SAYING: "I really hope the elections will take place on the 25th May. We won't let anyone disrupt the elections, and we think the presidential elections are a really strong stabilizing factor for Ukraine. Practically, it gives us hope that we as a country will start the process of stabilization and the return of peace to the country." Albright expressed support for the election. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF THE U.S. NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE AND FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, SAYING: "I do not speak for my country anymore but I do speak as chairman of the National Democratic Institute. We want very much to be in Ukraine, to be supportive not only of the elections, but of all the work that is going to have to take place afterwards." If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Sunday, a run-off will be held on June 15.