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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 17:18 GMT
How can the Ukraine crisis be solved?
A supporter of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, right, appeals to a supporter of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, in Ukraine's capital Kiev
We discussed the Ukrainian presidential election results in our global phone-in programme Talking Point.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has asked the country's Supreme Court to annul the contentious second round of the presidential election.

Electoral authorities claim Mr Yanukovych defeated the opposition's Viktor Yushchenko despite claims of vote-rigging.

A selection of your photos following Ukraine's presidential election

This comes after the prime minister earlier lost a no-confidence motion in parliament in the latest move in the crisis over the presidential election.

The parliamentary vote came as outgoing President Leonid Kuchma called for new elections to end the crisis after claims by opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko of massive electoral fraud.

What is your reaction to the crisis? What should the political parties do? Can there be a political or diplomatic solution to the crisis?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I have been to Ukraine several times in recent years, and on my last visit 6 months ago I was already hearing about the ways the coming election would be fixed. It is no surprise to any of the Ukrainian people I know that the result should have been pre-determined. It is also no surprise to me that that the Ukrainian people will fight for their right to have a democratically-elected leader. Maybe the people of the UK and the US could learn something from this.
John, Guildford, UK

Being a self-conscious citizen of Ukraine I would like to express my resentment regarding the political situation in my country! Yushenko is a person who's only interested in power and will sacrifice anything to get it. Were he a real patriot, he would never be calling people to fight and jeopardise their lives!! I believe that Yanukovich should cling on to the power, which he received democratically, and rescue our country!!
Alexei Zuyev, Kiev

Yuschenko acts like a rebel
Anya James, Sevastopol, Ukraine
Yuschenko is just eager to split the nation. He lost and should move on. Yuschenko acts like a rebel.
Anya James, Sevastopol, Ukraine

After reading all the comments, I found it kind of ironic that it's only the Russians who don't agree with Yushchenko as the true leader of Ukraine. They say that he is backed up by the US. If this is true, so what? We already know what it is like to be the "friends" to Russia. No Ukrainian language, no freedom of speech no real democracy. It's time for Ukraine to wake up and fight for what belongs to them. And Mr. Putin, go home.
Margaret, Mississuga, Canada

I am shocked at how obvious this election fraud has been - the Ukrainian government didn't even attempt to hide it! More power to the protestors and the international community to keep the pressure up and the focus on this farce. I pray that the voice of the people will finally be heard.
Roman, Toronto, Canada

We want see Ukraine free and prosperous
Daria, Kyiv, Ukraine
The election was definitely unfair. I hope that people will stand for their right to choose the president they want, not imposed by the government. We want see Ukraine free and prosperous. We hope that Europeans will support Ukrainians in their strive for democracy.
Daria, Kyiv, Ukraine

My Ukrainian wife is very upset but knew this would be the outcome. She felt that there was no way the Ukrainian government would 'allow' a Yushchenko victory. This is a sad day for the future of a wonderful country.
Gethyn, London

I was part of an EU teaching mission to a leading university in Kiev. We visited there several times between 1998-2000. One of the courses I taught was on the role of civil society in building democracy. Most of the students understood the concept well enough, and its importance. However, what was disturbingly obvious was that the Ukrainian state went out of its way to try and suppress grassroots attempts at building such a society. What we see today is the culmination between a state that has refused to throw off the vestiges of Soviet-era oppression and a fledgling democratic movement that has grown despite the state, not because of it.
John, Shrewsbury, England

The whole Europe should support Ukrainians in their fight for democracy!
Inga, Warsaw, Poland

It is now time for a new beginning
Sarah Rossell, Kyiv, Ukraine
This is a crucial time for the people of Ukraine. They are saying "No" to corruption and "Yes" to honesty and democracy. This country has suffered at the hands of so many brutal leaders over the centuries. It is now time for a new beginning.
Sarah Rossell, Kyiv, Ukraine

My in-laws live in eastern Ukraine and speak Russian at home, but they still voted for Yushchenko. Ukraine will always be tied to Moscow, but does not need it to control its own future. Now there are rumours - already denied by Russia - that Russian troops are being sent in wearing Ukrainian uniforms. Standing up for their rights won't make Ukraine an ideal democracy overnight (the US is far from ideal after over 200 years of this experiment), but it will give the country a chance to move more in the direction taken by countries like Latvia.
Porter, USA

If Mr Yanukovych and Mr Kuchma want closer ties with Russia they should go and live there. The Ukraine should be run by Ukrainians not wannabe Russians.
Mark Gidney, Tehran, Iran

Whilst I cannot say for certain whether this election was fair or not, it is obvious that many people believe it to be unfair. It is not right that any group of individuals should attempt to take control of a country using the cover of democracy. When groups across the world say that this election was flawed then I believe them. Let the Ukrainian government agree to a second election. One that is truly free and fair.
Rachel, Oxfordshire, UK

Democracy is at risk across the globe
Edward Schroder, Winston-Salem, USA
Now doubt there's been wrongdoing here, but it's funny how the US are quick to fault somebody else's election, and yet ignore their own "spoilt" ballots and scrubbed voter rolls. Democracy is at risk across the globe.
Edward Schroder, Winston-Salem, USA

I am happy that Yanukovitch has won. My grandmother who lived all her life in Ivano - Frankivsk had to immigrate from this Western Ukraine city to Russia. She was forced to do it because of her Russian ethnicity. If this fellow - Yuschenko would have come to power, millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians would be oppressed.
Alexander, Los Angeles

My blessing and encouragement to this budding hope of liberalism in Ukraine!
Dan, Broomfield, USA

This was nothing but a bogus election with a predetermined outcome being orchestrated by an entrenched oligarchic mafia. Shame! The true patriots should not retreat one step. This evil can be overcome and it will.
Rostyk Surowy, Winnipeg, Canada

Once again it appears that the masses of an East European country are trying to bring themselves into the modern world. Having travelled to Kiev and Odessa several times I know that most younger people (under 40) look to the western world for a future that can promise much more than decades of continuing decay and corruption. The ethnic minority of Russians remain intent on holding onto their status, I wish the people well in their search for a true democratic society, and hope that such a peaceful protest will bring them the rewards they deserve.
Peter Wright, Nottingham, UK

He has lost, regardless how much money the West has invested in his team
Andrei, Moscow, Russi
Western Ukraine supports Yuschenko. Eastern Ukraine supports Yanukovych. But Ukrainian industry concentrated in the East and deeply dependent on Russia. Almost 30% of Ukrainian enterprises belong to Russians. How can Yuschenko increase the living standards in the country? He has lost, regardless how much money the West has invested in his team.
Andrei, Moscow, Russia

It is time for the Ukrainian people to take the initiative these days and show this criminal government that they have no right whatsoever to ruin the country and a whole people's future: Yusthshenko is the only right choice.
Gino Cornelis, Bergen op Zoom, Holland

Let the courts decide in an unbiased way. The losers should then focus on the next election.
Todd, Virginia, USA

It's an election. There will be a winner and there will be losers. Until the losing side is willing to accept defeat, there will be no democracy. Is there proof of corruption in this election? Not yet. Likewise, people have got to obey the law in the way they protest and the way any review is handled. Is it too much to ask people to conduct themselves in a civilised manner?
Tanya, Denver, Colorado, USA

As a Polish citizen, I hope for a better future for our neighbour and friend Ukraine, that's why me and hundreds of Polish students went to the Ukrainian consulate in Warsaw today to express our objection to the fake election. I hope Poland and the rest of the world will not let the Ukraine down and we will fight for their democratic future. If not now, then when?
Marta, Krakow, Poland

I see the only possible way out of this is by holding the elections again
Warren, York, UK
I am deeply worried over the happening in the Ukraine and can only see events getting worse. I see the only possible way out of this is by holding the elections again, this time to the satisfaction of independent international observers. If there was no corruption the first time around then and none again then the results should give the same winner. If there was corruption before then this time the results should be the true will of the people. Of course, I'm going on the assumption that corruption-free elections are possible. But surely repeating the election would put the country in an even bigger spotlight that would remove any opportunities for corruption.
Warren, York, UK

Pastor Igor Nakonechny sent us this photo of protestors in Kiev
This is a complete farce. Yushchenko apparently lost the elections, and wants power illegally. He is supported by the west whose only interest is the destabilisation of Ukraine, which will have very bad ramifications to Russia. Ukrainians must protect their democracy and back the legally elected president, Mr Yanukovych. The exit polls were done unprofessionally, largely biased to Yushchenko's favour, since all polls were based in the big cities, were Yushchenko was clearly favoured, but the rural regions, where Yanukovych had support, were neglected.
Gavrilo Yoanovich, Oxford, UK

This is the last chance for Ukrainians to steer toward democracy and freedom before Russia draws the iron curtain again. Clearly, it is on Putin's agenda to keep Ukraine in his sphere of influence at all cost. Western institutions should remain firm and consistent in condemning such attempts. So far, the West failed to support fledgling democratic movements in Armenia and Belarus, claiming its only success in Georgia.
Karen, London

It's quite possible that the Ukrainian PM is the winner of this election; however, the result will be clear only after a thorough recount, since reports of election fraud are very numerous and very real. I was in Ukraine this past summer, and I saw firsthand how the heavyweight government bureaucracy poured all its might and money into PM's presidential campaign. Personally, I would resent their methods as I would resent PM's criminal past. However, if the recount shows PM a winner, the opposition will have to accept the people's decision, no matter how disappointing this decision may be and what consequences for Ukrainian democracy it may have.
Olia, Columbus, USA

I reside in Kyiv for 9 months of the year so feel in a strong position to comment. The vote was clearly rigged. This is all about the Soviet dinosaurs clinging to power. Kuchma and Putin are trying to keep things as they want them at ANY cost. I predicted this outcome 6 months ago. Yushchenko is Ukraine's best hope for a modern democracy and the people have voted for that direction. Ukraine is blessed with clever and strong people with such great and strong people. I believe that ultimately these people will prevail.
Richard Murray, Corby, UK

The Ukrainian communities in all countries must speak out loudly
Olga Kolodij, Philadelphia, PA
Ukraine has endured much throughout the years. The time has come for freedom and democracy to ring throughout Ukraine. The people have spoken. The government needs to listen to the voices of the people. The era of Russia plundering Ukraine must end. The Ukrainian communities in all countries must speak out loudly, so that this matter is bought to the rightful conclusion in declaring Yushchenko President of Ukraine - the choice of the Ukrainian people.
Olga Kolodij, Philadelphia, PA

I am a young teenager in England and I have just come back from the streets of London. It's not cold out here but we do feel the pain of those who are stood in the streets of Kiev. There were about 1500 of us today; protesting and we want one thing, for Viktor Yushchenko to be our president. I just want to say that people in England are doing their job to help Ukraine get the freedom it deserves. For all the Ukrainians out there keep on doing everything you can we will win, God is our side.
Mar'yana, London, UK

So what about the wishes of the other halve of Ukraine? Don't they matter?
Thomas, Canada

They both failed to unite the country
Sergiy, London, UK
There were no "angels" in Ukrainian election. Fraud, cheating and so called "irregularities" are attributable to both sides. Western media is as always biased towards pro-West candidate and is trying to make a martyr and angel out of Yushchenko. People should understand that he is making a big fuss because western money invested in his election yielded no result. Neither Yanukovych nor Yushchenko deserve to lead the Ukraine. They both failed to unite the country. No matter which side Ukraine will decide to take it should stay indivisible.
Sergiy, London, UK

True democracy depends not only on elections, but also the people making evident to their leaders that they are ultimately in power. That is, as I see it, what is happening in Ukraine now.
Stephan Nedregård, Oslo, Norway

The west should ask for either a re-run of the election, or for a recount of the vote in several regions. Sanctions would be a bad idea, as they would push the Ukraine closer to Russia and further away from democracy.
C Muller, Luxembourg

I have travelled to Ukraine a few times and seen first hand how the government regards its citizens. Finally the people are tired of corrupt governments of the past hoarding the best that life in Ukraine has to offer for them selves. The people are ready to take a stand for their children's future and the rest of the free world has an obligation, no a duty to stand with them.
Jeff Curfman, Atlanta, USA

Ukraine is a country of rich potential and for it to flourish it has to look towards Europe. Corruption is rife, I know that from my time living there and it needs to be combated at every level. However I feel that being split from Russia will paralyse the Ukrainian economy. 90% of all trade is done with Russia. The truth is that Ukraine needs to have a good relationship with both EU and Russia. One thing is for certain though, Putin will not let the rest of the world meddle, He has to much to lose.
Richard Murray, Corby, UK

The refusal to accept one outcome will see the Ukraine witness strife and trouble
Dafydd, York, England
The choice for the Ukrainian people was one of pro-Western monopoly-capital and increased ties with European financiers, or for a pro-Russian policy and increased Putin-style "democracy". Either outcome is as bad as the other, and the refusal to accept one outcome will see the Ukraine witness strife and troubles never thought of before 1991.
Dafydd, York, England

It is wrong to label the Ukraine as a dictatorship or a tyranny, especially when comparing the democratic rights that people enjoy in the Ukraine as opposed to Belarus or most of the central Asian nations. However these elections also prove that the Ukraine is also not yet a democracy.
Nathan, Bedford, UK

Clearly, Ukraine is divided in who they want as president but also in what direction the people want their country to move in. It is time for the international community to come to the aid of the Ukraine people and stop pointing fingers and placing blame.
Katherine, New York, NY

I think, it doesn't matter who will be the president now, the main thing is that the people of Ukraine have understood that they can decided something. That they have the right to change something, and not only to be governed. It will be a good example for all former Soviet countries.
Hanna Makarenko, Basel, Switzerland

Are we going back to the days of the Cold War or is it a storm in a tea-cup?
Pancha Chandra, Belgium
Will Ukraine's supreme court resolve this contentious election? If not this could become a serious flash-point, a point of tension between the West and Russia. Are we going back to the days of the Cold War or is it a storm in a tea-cup? This whole election stinks and one smells a rat! Ukraine is in a deep political crisis. The Russians support Victor Yanukovych while America and the European Union have thrown their hat behind the liberal Opposition reformist candidate Victor Yushchenko.
Pancha Chandra, Belgium

Cross the border from Poland to Ukraine and witness the difference in infrastructure and prosperity. I am sure most Ukrainians know this. After everything Russia has inflicted on Ukraine it's time the country was given it's own voice.
Rob Gifford, Krakow, Poland

The election was not fairly contested in Ukraine. My husband's father was head of the local election poll in a region near Kyiv and more than 96% of the people who voted cast their votes for Yushchenko. We have just spoken to family in Kyiv who are with the protesters and they say that Russian special forces are occupying the Presidential building dressed in Ukrainian uniform, which suggests a great deal of interference from the hypocritical President of Russia who is saying Western governments should keep out of this. Clearly his is not keeping out of it and is actively promoting Yanukovych, who is simply his stooge.
Susan Kovbasyuk, Colchester, England

I just spoke to my friend in Kiev and heard how people were pressured to vote for Yanukovych or lose their jobs. Many people in Ukraine think that it is either now or never.
Alex Leybengrub, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Democracy requires an unbiased election process to thrive and flourish
Tim Brookshaw, Chippenham, UK
This is not a simple Yanukovych against Yushchenko issue. What the west is upset about is not the result, but that the election process was unfair, fraudulent and biased. If the process was fair and seen to be fair, then the result would be accepted by everyone. Democracy requires an unbiased election process to thrive and flourish.
Tim Brookshaw, Chippenham, UK

This looks like it is turning into a similar situation to what happened in Venezuela. All the western press claimed that Chavez was not representative of Venezuelans. Perhaps the west should take heed in President Chirac's words: "Democratization does not mean westernization".
Karo Michaelian, Mexico City, Mexico

Russia, the US and Europe must let the Ukraine decide for themselves if they wish to develop stronger ties with Europe or remained tied to Moscow. Both sides offer advantages for the country and for once I would love to see the superpowers mind their own business. Ukrainians are a strong people (I have some in my blood) and I have full confidence in their ability to peacefully solve this dilemma.
Tim, NJ, USA

I wonder if the western officials would be so active in criticizing the elections if the same situation arose in one of their pet countries like Afghanistan or Iraq.
Yakov, Moscow, Russia

The losing side must learn to accept the results instead of instinctively taking to the streets
Yuli Mikolenko, USA

The pro-Yushchenko opposition appears to be attempting to change the rules of the game during the course of the match. Before the elections took place, both sides recognized and agreed to the composition of the Central Elections Commission. Now that they have lost, they no longer recognize the commission's authority and proclaim it to be corrupt. If Ukraine is to have a viable democracy, the losing side must learn to accept the results instead of instinctively taking to the streets.
Yuli Mikolenko, USA

The USA, EU and Britain are disappointed that the result has stopped their takeover of the Ukraine's economy and military. Tough!
Colin Craig, Banbridge, Ireland

We toppled our president when he tried to steal the elections four years ago. What I can say to all of you out there is just to be persistent, patient and show them your strength by turning out in huge numbers. Just keep it on!
Zex, Belgrade, Serbia

I have visited western Ukraine three times in the last 10 years. The people are very hard-working and just want the chance to live and work in a true free country like we take for granted. The bureaucracy there is unbelievable - just try passing through Lviv airport. They are still controlled by 'communist style' officials - who it can clearly be seen are trying to cling onto power illegally against the will of the majority.
Ivan, Nottingham, England

Both candidates are puppets. One is backed by Russia, and the other by the West
anonymous Russian

Isn't it obvious that both sides in this election have cheated? I'm Russian and therefore know from my own experience that there is no such thing as fair politics in ex-USSR. Did Yanukovych cheat? Of course he did! However, I'm pretty sure that Yushchenko cheated just as much. It is disappointing to see these political games, especially since they extend outside Ukraine. Both candidates are puppets. One is backed by Russia, and the other by the West. I have also noticed that many protesters are fresh from school looking for action, while the wiser elderly stay at home and observe this circus from the outside.
anonymous Russian

All my grandparents voted for Yanukovych freely. I spend last year studying at Lancaster University and I too voted for him last week. We are not bandits. My grandfather was the director of Technical School; one granny was a teacher, another a housewife. They all fought in WWII and they cannot accept Yushchenko's rhetoric for revolution and humiliation of opponents.

It is our view that there is no opposition as the top of Yushchenko's team are: five ex-prime-ministers, 10 ex-ministers and five oligarchs - all fired for non-professionalism and corruption and then immediately became opposition leaders. Is that really on option? Of course, Europe, US, youth, foreigners and emigrants want to see Yushchenko as a president with his American wife. But if he avoids the dialogue and leads the crowd to slaughter, we all will loose the country we love.
Vadym, Kiev, Ukraine

The world should not be speaking in favour of Yushchenko or Yanukovych but rather only speaking of determining the true will of the people, whether it be pro-Russia or pro-West. That is what democracy is all about.
John H, Mexico City, Mexico

As a country, Ukraine is now at a natural point of evolution - when it is ready to become part of Europe, and let go of its recovering ex-communist country label. But will that be possible if Ukraine is run by a man who didn't even consider the wishes of his own people? I see striking parallels to certain elections four years ago. And we all know what those led to in the long run... Is this what democracy is? I doubt that.
Olga Pavlova, London

I support Victor Yushchenko. I constantly attend the protests on the Independence Square and all my friends and relatives do the same. Lots of people even some of my friends couldn't vote as they wanted because of different frauds. Ukrainian nation is a democratic one and the government should behave democratically, too.
Marina Kamenna, Kyiv, Ukraine

Why not split the country into east and west Ukraine and allow each president to govern their own sovereign state. East Ukraine obviously wants to move toward Russia whilst we in the West have aspirations to join the EU. It would make it easier to join the EU if our country were smaller and less populous.
Alexei Korobov, Kiev, Ukraine

This is further evidence of democracy's weak points. Unless the top officials are willing to play fair democracy simply becomes a tool of the authoritarian.
Alan Burnett, Auckland, New Zealand

Was the election fair? Probably not, but then, how many are? It is a bit rich for the US to pontificate on the fairness of the Ukraine vote after the farce of 2000.
Ken Brewer, England

How come the future of my country is decided upon by western governments and thousands of students marching the streets wrapped up in orange cellophane instead of millions of Ukrainian factory workers, miners, teachers, doctors and business people who work and pay taxes? How come 92,73% support for Yanukovych in Lugansk is considered fraudulent while 93,53% for Yushchenko in Ternopyl is taken for granted?
Katia, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine

Odessa is against Yushchenko!
Gennady Stamikov, Odessa, Ukraine
From BBCRussian.com: Odessa is against Yushchenko! The whole town is in blue and white colours (in support of Yanukovych). I have a lot of clothes of orange colour - and am too shy to wear them. Orange is the colour of Yushchenko's campaign.
Gennady Stamikov, Odessa, Ukraine

From BBCRussian.com: Yanukovych's supporters in Kiev behave very rudely. They swear, get drunk, provoke bystanders. Why don't police react? Why don't Ukrainian and Russian TV channels report it?
Olga, Kiev, Ukraine

From BBCRussian.com: With such a division within society (almost 50/50) there is another danger. If the losing side is not satisfied with the outcome, there is a danger that groups of people will emerge who will decide to use terrorist methods to achieve their goals.
Eduard, St Petersburg, Russia



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