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Stronger democracy and a "strategic choice for peace and Europe" was the Ukrainian people's message in Sunday's elections to the Verkhovna Rada, said Andrej Plenkovic (EPP, HR), head of the EP delegation at the international election monitors' press conference in Kiev on Monday. "Our assessment is very positive. The elections were conducted in line with international standards," he said.

MEPs had observed Ukrainian people casting their votes with a sense of pride and strong civic duty, he noted.

"Despite the extremely difficult situation in the country, the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the hybrid aggression Ukraine is suffering, the government and the electoral authorities succeeded in organising these elections very well, in an orderly and peaceful manner," Mr Plenkovic stressed.

He congratulated the Ukrainian people and the newly elected MPs for choosing a "clear European orientation".  He said MEPs looked forward to the swift constitution of the new Verkhovna Rada and the rapid formation of the new government, which would have "a strong EU agenda".  

"The EU and, most importantly, the European Parliament stand beside Ukraine, ready to support and assist the implementation of the Association Agreement. Ukraine needs the help of the EU and the EU will help Ukraine," said Mr Plenkovic, who also chairs the EP delegation for parliamentary cooperation with Ukraine.

The European Parliament Election Observation Delegation has 14 members, from nine different EU countries, representing all Parliament's political groups. On election day they observed the opening of polling, voting and the count in Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Cherkasy.