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Ohio senator will observe Ukraine elections

Published: May 23, 2014 9:05 AM

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Ohio's Republican senator will be in Ukraine this weekend to observe presidential voting in the crisis-torn European nation.

Rob Portman says his visit is part of an effort to strengthen U.S.-Ukraine cooperation through the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. He says he also wants to show his support for the Ukrainian people and the Democratic process.

Twenty-one candidates are competing Sunday to become Ukraine's next leader. A runoff would be held June 15 if no one claims a majority.

President Vladimir Putin announced Friday that Russia will recognize the outcome of Ukraine's presidential vote, but voiced hope Ukraine would halt its military operation against separatists in the east.

Portman plans to spend Memorial Day in Poland, where he will visit with U.S. military personnel.

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