Successful Ukraine election 'major step' towards de-escalation - EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Sunday's successful presidential election in Ukraine was a major step towards reducing tensions between Kiev and Moscow, the European Union said on Monday, welcoming Russia's declaration that it would respect the results of the vote.

The EU said it expected Russia to use its leverage armed, pro-Russian separatists to further reduce tensions in Ukraine.

"The successful holding of these elections constitutes a major step towards the objective of de-escalating tensions and restoring security for all Ukrainians," the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council said.

"We welcome statements by the Russian Federation indicating that it will respect the will of the Ukrainian people and engage in a dialogue with the new Ukrainian President," Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy said in a joint statement.

"We look forward to further concrete steps on this constructive path, including the use of leverage on armed groups to de-escalate the situation on the ground."

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Luke Baker)