YEREVAN — Armenia formally recognized the outcome of the weekend presidential election in crisis-hit Ukraine on Tuesday, with President Serzh Sarkisian congratulating its winner, billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko.

In a letter to Poroshenko released by his press office, Sarkisian said he hopes that his new Ukrainian counterpart will successfully meet challenges facing Ukraine through “public accord and consolidation.”

He also expressed confidence that the Ukrainian and Armenian governments will remain committed to deepening bilateral ties. In particular, he stressed the need to “step up mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation” between the two ex-Soviet states.

Those relations seriously deteriorated in March after Sarkisian effectively recognized referendum in Crimea that led to the Black Sea region’s absorption into Russia. Yerevan went on to vote against a UN General Assembly resolution that condemned the annexation.

The pro-Western interim government in Kiev responded by recalling Ukraine’s ambassador to Armenia, Ivan Kukhta. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday, Kukhta said that he expects to return to Yerevan “very soon.”

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