8 Feb 2010

Pro-Moscow candidate claims Ukraine victory

10:08 pm on 8 February 2010

Ukraine opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich is claiming victory in a presidential election that could tilt the former Soviet republic back towards Moscow - but bitter rival Yulia Tymoshenko is refusing to concede.

Mrs Tymoshenko has threatened to challenge the result in court or bring her supporters out on the street again if there is any evidence of fraud. That's what she did in 2004, when Mr Yanukovich won what was subsequently declared to be a rigged election.

Mass protest action six years ago sparked the orange Revolution that swept Mrs Tymoshenko to power.

This time round, exit polls show Mr Yanukovich four to five percentage points ahead with more than 94% of the votes counted.

Speaking at a news conference, Mr Yanukovych congratulated those involved in his campaign and said he would deliver the change the country was yearning for.