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Will Chocolate King sweeten Ukraine?

Monday, May 26, 2014 - 02:08

May 26 - Russia says it's ready for dialogue with Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's next president, but only if Kiev authorities don't step up armed operations against separatists in the east. Sonia Legg asks if the Chocolate King can melt current tensions?

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It wasn't the best start for Ukraine's new President-elect - pro-Russian separatists took over Donetsk's international airport terminal. Gunfire and explosions along with cancelled flights the result. Petro Poroschenko says he won't negotiate with what he calls the "terrorists" responsible but he does acknowledge he must talk to the people in eastern Ukraine and Russian leaders. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT-ELECT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "Russia is our biggest neighbour and because stopping the war and bringing peace to all Ukraine, bringing stability in the eastern part of Ukraine would be impossible without the participation of Russia." In Kiev there was optimism the billionaire chocolate manufacturer could make a difference. (SOUNDBITE) (UKRAINIAN) KIEV RESIDENT OLEH, SAYING: "I am really happy with the result because what I need and what people in this country need is stability and prosperity." Poroshenko secured more than 50% of the vote. And his cv looks impressive. He's a former foreign minister and trade minister and was once head of the national security council. Professor Volodymir Paniotto from the Kiev International Institute of Sociology says he also has a reputation as a pragmatist. (SOUNDBITE) (RUSSIAN) PROFESSOR VOLODYMIR PANIOTTO, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF KIEV INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SOCIOLOGY: "All previous presidents enjoyed either the support of the east or the west - understandably most people voted in the west and the centre this time - but still this president has far more support in the east and the south than those before him." Markets initially liked the result with European equities rising. But ING's Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen says caution about Russia remains. (SOUNDBITE) (English): VALENTIJN VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN, HEAD OF STRATEGY AND CHIEF ECONOMIST, ING, SAYING: "We are fairly sceptical about the medium term outlook not only about the the issue in Ukraine but also about the situation in Russia itself - it's unbalanced economy and equity holder friendly environment coming from the latest political dynamics." Poroshenko hopes to hold talks with Moscow in early June. But it's hard to see how he will fulfil one aim - he refuses to accept Russia's annexation of Crimea and that to many is a done deal.

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Will Chocolate King sweeten Ukraine?

Monday, May 26, 2014 - 02:08