Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was officially nominated as candidate for president, told supporters that Kiev could build neighborly relations with Moscow, but its future lay with Europe.
Tymoshenko was nominated candidate for Ukraine president on Saturday by Ukraine's Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) coalition during a rally on Kiev's Independence Square, the main venue of street protests against alleged ballot rigging, which swept President Viktor Yushchenko to power five years ago.
"I believe that our relations with Russia could be equal and dignified, could be honest and transparent," Tymoshenko told a crowd of about 200,000 people, who unanimously voted for her nomination.
"Ukraine must build friendly relations with all neighboring countries, with the whole world...But our path leads to the European community. Ukraine, which has the deepest Christian and European roots, cannot be outside the European community," she said.
Ukraine's opposition Party of Regions on Friday officially nominated as presidential candidate its leader Victor Yanukovych, seen as the frontrunner in the January elections.
Recent surveys give Yanukovych, a former prime minister widely seen as pro-Russian, a 10-12 percentage point lead over Yulia Tymoshenko. She has about 15% and former parliamentary speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk is placed third with some 9%.
Current President Viktor Yushchenko, who led the Orange Revolution in 2004, is trailing behind with poll ratings of less than 6 percent.