Yanukovych sworn in as Ukraine's president

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Ukrainian President-elect Victor Yanukovych was sworn in at the parliament on Thursday amid tight security measures with the witness of many international dignitaries.

Presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich makes a statement for the results of exit polls after the second round of Presidential elections in his headquarters in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2010. [Xinhua File Photo]

Yanukovych, the opposition leader, defeated Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in Feb. 7 presidential elections, with 48.95 percent of the votes.

He will be the country's fourth president since the former Soviet republic got its independence in 1991.

"A new period period of our new history is beginning. The country is in a difficult situation," Yanukovych said in his inaugural address, noting the country faced "collosal debts, poverty, a collapsing economy, corruption."

Referring to foreign policy, Yanukovych said he would carry out a foreign policy with the European Union (EU), Russia and the United States that would gain the best results for his country.

"Ukraine will choose such a foreign policy that will allow the state to get the maximum results from the development of equal and mutually advantageous relations with Russia, the European Union, the United States and other governments..." he added.

Meanwhile, Yanukovych vowed to make every effort to improve the well-being of the state and its citizens.

Yanukovych took the oath of office in a low-key ceremony reflecting a bitterly-fought and disputed election which has highlighted deep divisions in the country.

On Feb. 7, Ukraine held a presidential run-off election. On Feb. 14, Ukraine's Central Elections Commission formally declared Yanukovych winner of the run-off. Official results show Yanukovych won by a margin of 3.48 percentage points.

The voting pattern highlighted a sharp split between Russian-speaking voters in the industrial east and south who backed Yanukovych, and Ukrainian-speakers in the west and center who voted for Tymoshenko

Tymoshenko then filed an appeal against the run-off results, citing election frauds and accusing Yanukovych of stealing more than 1 million votes.

However, international observers, including those from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have declared the elections "professional, transparent and honest."

Tymoshenko last Saturday unexpectedly dropped her legal challenge to Yanukovich's election, paving the way for Yanukovych's inauguration on Thursday.

International dignitaries attending the inauguration ceremony included presidents of Poland, Armenia, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Han Changfu, agriculture minister of China, attended the inauguration as special envoy of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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