Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma says a new presidential election is the only way to keep peace and end the crisis that threatens to break the country apart.
The outgoing president said Monday re-running this month's disputed election will preserve unity and keep the country moving towards democracy.
Mr. Kuchma had supported his pro-Russian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych -- the declared winner of the November 21st vote. His challenger, pro-Western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, says the vote was rigged and has launched a Supreme Court challenge. It is unclear when the court will rule.
Tens of thousands of opposition supporters have packed the streets of Kiev and other cities in western Ukraine.
Some lawmakers in eastern Ukraine, which has a huge ethnic-Russian population, have threatened to declare autonomy if Mr. Yanukovych does not become president.