President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he hoped Ukraine's parliamentary election on Oct. 26 would help bring stability to the country, saying this was also in Russia's interests.
The government in Kiev has accused Moscow of meddling in its affairs by directly supporting pro-Russian separatists fighting government troops in eastern Ukraine, accusations which Russia denies.
"Ukraine's exit from political and economic crisis is in Russia's national interests," Putin told the VTB Capital Russia Calling investment forum in Moscow, referring to Ukraine as Russia's "most brotherly" nation.
"We are interested in having a reliable and predictable partner and neighbor," he said.
Putin said the election would foster stability in Ukraine if Kiev guaranteed the full rights of all Ukrainian citizens — a clear reference to the country's Russian speakers. The rebel-controlled regions of Luhansk and Donetsk say they do not intend to take part in the election on Oct. 26.
"I hope Ukraine's parliamentary elections will be worthy and there will finally be long-awaited political stability," the president said.