Ukraine's president-elect, Petro Poroshenko, promised to end the armed insurgency in the east of the country in "hours", as Kiev's forces launched air strikes on separatists during an intense battle to regain control of Donetsk airport which left many injured.
With almost all the votes counted on Monday evening, Poroshenko, a pro-west businessman, was on course for a decisive victory with 54% of the vote, while his nearest challenger won just 13%, but when he takes up office he will be faced with the immediate task of bringing calm to Ukraine's eastern regions.
The pro-Russia forces who have occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine said they were ready to negotiate with Ukraine's new leadership, but only with Russian mediation and on equal terms. The separatists have declared themselves de facto independent states and claim Kiev has no jurisdiction over them.
Less than a fifth of polling stations opened in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Sunday following a massive campaign of intimidation by the separatists, who say they want the eastern regions of Ukraine to join Russia after questionable referendums earlier this month.