Embattled Ukraine should be open to working with Russia as well as Europe and the U.S., according to Mykhailo Dobkin, who is running for president of Ukraine in national elections that will start on Sunday.
Dobkin is a member of Ukraine's Party of Regions, which supports greater independence for Ukraine's different regions and is seen as pro-Russia rather than pro-West.
Ahead of the weekend's election, Dobkin told CNBC: "As far as Russia is concerned, if we manage to normalize economic relations with this country, it would be a so-called guarantee of the future that nothing will happen like is happening now on our joint borders."
Ukraine has remained on the brink of crisis since pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February. In early March, Russia annexed Crimea in the south of the country and fighting between pro-Russian militias and Ukrainian forces has continued in the country's industrial heartland in the east.
Russia's aggression has led both the U.S. and the European Union to impose an escalating series of sanctions. These include visa bans and asset freezes on companies and officials in both Ukraine and Russia with links to President Vladimir Putin.