Accessibility links

Ukraine President, Prime Minister Hold Talks to Resolve Escalating Political Crisis

  • Bill Gasperini

Ukraine's president and prime minister are set to resume talks Saturday aimed at resolving the escalating political crisis in the former Soviet republic. The United States, European Union and Russia are all calling on Ukraine's two top leaders to avoid the use of force. Bill Gasperini has more from Moscow.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich met for three hours late Friday seeking a compromise after weeks of uncertainty and street demonstrations. Little progress was reported, but presidential aides said the talks would continue.

The talks came after President Yushchenko tried to take control of crack Interior Ministry troops. Mr. Yanukovich denounced the move as unconstitutional and said he would defy the order.

The presidential decree on control of the special troops raised tensions in Ukraine, and led to calls for calm from the United States, European Union and Russia.

Mr. Yushchenko's order on the troops came one day after he sought to dismiss Prosecutor General Svyateslav Piskun, an ally of Mr. Yanukovich.

That order was met with defiance when troops helped Piskun break into his office.

Piskun later stood outside his office and told supporters that he remains the prosecutor general because the presidential decree has no validity.

The latest round of political turmoil in Ukraine began last month when Mr. Yushchenko issued another decree dissolving parliament and setting a date for new elections.

Prime Minister Yanukovich and his supporters have refused to recognize those orders.

Tensions between the reformist president and the prime minister, who favors closer ties with Russia, have been simmering since 2004, when the two men were rivals in a controversial presidential election.

XS
SM
MD
LG