Russia’s parliament the Duma has expressed concern over the political crisis in Ukraine. It has sided with opponents of the Ukrainian president’s order to disband the chamber and order a new election. President Viktor Yushchenko has called for international mediators to resolve the situation after the prime minister challenged his decision in court. Russian Duma representative Andrei Kokoshin said: “The Ukrainian presidential decree has not only destabilised the situation, it has worsened the political crisis. In our opinion the order is un-constitutional.”
Thousands of supporters of the Ukrainian prime minister gathered outside parliament to protest against the decree. They called on the Central Electoral Commission to halt preparations for the poll. One supporter called for the president to step down: “Yushchenko is president and what he, along with Yulia Tymoshenko promised to do, he never fulfilled, not one percent. That is why we are against them, we want to end their authority.”
The president’s supporters also took to the streets. Members of the “Pora” or “It is time” movement blame the situation on the prime minister’s ambitions. The decree came after deputies crossed the floor to join the ruling coalition, moving it closer to a super majority that would allow it to change the constitution and reduce the president’s powers.
One supporter said: “What the parliamentarians are doing is pure betrayal. We are here to support our country and our president, whom they want to bring to his knees. We will not allow them to bring him down.” The president and prime minister have met once again in an attempt to find a solution to the situation.