May 25 - Front-runner Petro Poroshenko and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko cast votes in Ukraine election. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Ukrainian presidential candidate and confectionary tycoon Petro Poroshenko and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko cast ballots in Ukraine's presidential election. Tymoshenko remains a divisive figure to many, linked with the economic failures and graft that have blighted post-Soviet Ukraine. Polls have found Poroshenko, who is known as the "Chocolate King" because of his confectionery empire, the overwhelming favorite to win Sunday's election. The biggest question is whether he can take over 50 percent to win outright. If not, a run-off vote will be held on June 15. The new president's first task will be to resolve the conflict with pro-Russian separatists who have declared republics in Luhansk and Donetsk regions while quelling any potential uprisings in other parts of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged on Saturday (May 24) to "respect" the people's choice and work with Ukraine's new administration - a conciliatory move during an economic forum at which he had acknowledged that U.S. and EU sanctions over Ukraine were hurting the Russian economy. But he defended his annexation of Crimea in March as a response to the democratic will of the majority ethnic Russian population there. Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of a propaganda war to sow fear among Russian-speakers in eastern and southern Ukraine of "fascist" Ukrainian nationalists and of supporting rebel forces who have seized many towns in the east.