Russia is likely to send its new ambassador, Mikhail Zurabov, to Ukraine after next year's presidential elections in the ex-Soviet state, Russia's former envoy to Ukraine said on Monday, RIA Novosti informed.

Ukraine is to hold presidential elections on January 17, 2010.

"Next year, I think. I'm not sure, maybe after the elections," Viktor Chernomyrdin told journalists on Monday, answering a question of when Russia would send its new ambassador to Kiev.

Russia's previous envoy to Ukraine, 70-year-old former premier Viktor Chernomyrdin, was retired in early June after eight years in the post, where he witnessed a dramatic deterioration in relations between the former Soviet allies.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier suspended Ambassador Zurabov's arrival to Kiev until relations improved.

Chernomyrdin came under threat of expulsion in February over what Ukrainian authorities said were "undiplomatic" statements critical of Kiev's policies.


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