(QHA) -

European Union leaders praised Ukraine’s presidential election and vowed to support the country’s new leader as he assumes power in a country struggling with a flailing economy, RFE/RL reports. 

In a statement following an informal dinner in Brussels on May 27, the heads-of-state of the EU’s 28 member countries called the elections in Ukraine that saw businessman Petro Poroshenko secure the presidency “an expression of the will” of Ukraine’s citizens.

“The presidential election was characterized by high turnout and a clear resolve by the authorities to hold what was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and respecting fundamental freedoms, despite the hostile security environment in two eastern regions of the country,” the leaders said in the statement.

They also called on Moscow to engage with Poroshenko, to withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s borders and to “use its leverage on the armed separatists to de-escalate the situation in Eastern Ukraine.”

To recall, Ukrainian confectionery tycoon Petro Poroshenko has claimed outright victory in the country's presidential election May 25.