Ukraine’s Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk has quit, claiming he had become a “hostage to politics”.
The announcement was made amid a row over a huge deficit in a budget put together by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. A 13 billion euro International Monetary Fund bail-out was conditional on a deficit free budget. In a statement on his ministry’s website, Pynzenyk cited differences over financing the deficit and said, “there was no point in remaining in the job in such conditions”. Yulia Tymoshenko is at odds with President Viktor Yushchenko who has condemned deals the prime minister has made over Russian gas supplies and a proposed loan from Moscow. Analysts say any credit from the Kremlin could jeopardise the IMF deal. Meanwhile in Ukraine’s capital Kiev angry demonstrators took to the streets. “We are protesting against the rising cost of housing and public services,” said one woman. “We are also demanding that teachers continue to receive their salaries, because otherwise, we have no means to survive.” Another protester said: “We haven’t been paid for four months, that’s why we are here. It’s only the first cry. We will declare war if nothing changes, you’ll see this war. The people should rise and overthrow this government and the police should be overthrown too if they’re against us.” The rally, organised by trade unions, was the first in a series planned across the country in protest against worsening living standards.