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2014-EO-Ukraine-Soares-TurchynovJoao Soares (left) and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the conclusion of their meeting on 6 May.COPENHAGEN, 9 May 2014 – Senior parliamentarian Joao Soares (Portugal), who will lead the short-term OSCE observer mission to Ukraine's presidential election, has met with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Kyiv and completed a visit to Odessa.

The trip is the latest in a series to Ukraine by OSCE parliamentarians and staff in preparation for the 25 May presidential vote.

"During this challenging time for Ukraine, it is inspiring to see that preparations for the election can continue. From the center of Kyiv to Odessa on the Black Sea, the commitment of officials and people to conduct free and fair elections is clear. As observers, my colleagues and I will continue to support the people of Ukraine as they prepare to express their democratic will," Soares said.

In their meeting on 6 May, Soares and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk held a frank discussion on the security situation in Ukraine and for the upcoming vote; the need for open and inclusive dialogue in all regions of the country; and efforts by the OSCE and the international community to contribute to the election process and help mediate the crisis.

Soares underlined the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's commitment to helping the Ukrainian people during the political transition period and the importance of holding successful elections for the stability of the country.

Soares also met with Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergiy Kyslytsya and officials from the Security Service on 6 May in Kyiv. Meetings were also held with colleagues from the OSCE, including Tana de Zulueta, the Head of the OSCE/ODIHR's election observation mission in Ukraine, and Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, who heads the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission in the country.

In Odessa, Soares was joined by parliamentarian Andreas Psycharis, a member of the Greek Delegation to the OSCE PA. They met on 8 May with the acting Mayor of Odessa, Oleh Bryndak, to discuss the recent tragic events in the city, the security situation and preparations for the election.

Soares and Psycharis also met with members of a local district election commission, representatives of several presidential candidates, the Committee of Voters of Ukraine and OSCE colleagues based in Odessa.

The OSCE PA plans to make additional visits to Ukraine ahead of election day.

For photos from the visit, click here.