Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ukraine's Ruling Coalition Collapses

Ukraine's pro-Western coalition government formally collapsed, deepening a political crisis that has clouded the country's prospects of joining the NATO military alliance.

President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko worked together in an "Orange" coalition for nine fractious months, but their alliance gradually unraveled, not for the first time, faltering on serious policy and personality differences.

Their failure to patch up differences after a 10-day cooling-off period came as Mr. Yushchenko -- whose supporters have charged Ms. Tymoshenko with collaborating with Moscow -- accused Russia of trying to destabilize Ukraine.

[Ukraine photo] Associated Press

Policy and personality differences led Ukraine's Yulia Tymoshenko, right, with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, and Viktor Yushchenko to end their coalition.

"For some of our partners, instability in Ukraine is like bread and butter," he said in an Associated Press interview, suggesting Moscow was stirring up separatists on the volatile Crimean Peninsula, where Russia's Black Sea Fleet is based.

He said Ukraine wouldn't allow itself to be drawn into a war in the way he said Georgia had last month when Russian troops responded to a Georgian attack on South Ossetia by occupying large swaths of its territory.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

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