Ukraine's newly appointed acting president has reaffirmed his commitment to closer ties with Europe, saying that Russia will have to "acknowledge and respect" Kiev's choice.
"The return to the European integration course, the rejection of which had sparked the uprising, is our priority. We must return into the family of European states," Oleksandr Turchynov said Sunday in a statement, posted on the website of his Fatherland party.
He said Ukraine's new leadership would build its ties with Russia "on a new basis — truly equal and neighborly –—that would acknowledge and respect Ukraine's European choice."
Ukraine's parliament voted Saturday to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections on May 25.
The impeachment vote marked a dramatic development for the leader, whose rule had seemed in little doubt in late November, when a wave of protests was ignited by the government surprise decision to back away from closer ties with the EU in favor of greater economic cooperation with Russia.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian parliament voted to transfer presidential duties to the speaker, Turchinov, who ordered a national unity government be formed by Tuesday.