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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will attend the inauguration of Viktor Yanukovych as president of Ukraine, a source in the Moscow Patriarchate said on Friday.
The inauguration ceremony is scheduled for February 25. However, it may be delayed over a legal appeal by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who lost the February 7 runoff by 3.48%.
Tymoshenko has refused to concede defeat, and appealed to Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court on Tuesday, claiming election fraud and demanding ballots be recounted in three Ukrainian regions.
The court on Wednesday suspended the Central Electoral Commission's official announcement that Yanukovych had won the presidential elections.
Tymoshenko addressed the court on Friday, but despite the hearing continuing into the evening, the court has yet to rule on her appeal.
Patriarch Kirill was one of the first to congratulate Yanukovich on the victory, even before all the ballots had been counted. He urged the new Ukrainian leader to assume "responsibility to God, people and history."
MOSCOW, February 19 (RIA Novosti)
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We have witnessed the total defeat of western Ukraine, Western nationalists and the West in general, which made the unfortunate decision to support the anti-government activity. They failed to realize that the collapse of Yanukovych means the collapse of Ukrainian unity. They set fire to their own home and planted a time bomb under Ukraine’s territorial integrity.