MOSCOW Dec 3 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin on Thursday denied that he was backing Ukrainian Prime
Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as his preferred candidate in
January's presidential elections.
Tymoshenko has worked closely with Putin on defusing a gas
pricing dispute between the countries in recent months,
prompting analysts to suggest that she is the Russian
leadership's preferred candidate in the January poll.
Putin said he was cooperating with Tymoshenko as prime
minister but he was not supporting her in elections.
(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Michael Stott;)