Ukraine has been plunged into political crisis once again with a no-confidence vote in parliament meaning the government has been sacked. With one eye on elections in March, opposition lawmakers threw out the government in protest at the deal struck over gas supplies with Russia.
The agreement will see Ukraine pay twice as much for Russian gas.
It’s the latest blow for President Viktor Yushchenko, who has now seen two governments sacked in just over three months.
“This decision by the parliament goes against the constitution,” Yushchenko said. “The prime minister and the ministers will keep working. I’ll file charges in the Constitutional Court to trial whether this decision was on constitutional grounds.”
One of the driving forces behind the confidence vote was former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who joined forces with pro-Moscow opposition parties.
“What happened was an absolutely logical result of the government’s activity,” she said. “The prime minister and his cabinet were absolutely unable to take responsibility for our nation, our economy, and for the provision of gas for Ukraine. The resignation looks absolutely logical.”
The row between Kiev and Moscow culminated in Russian state monopoly Gazprom cutting supplies to its neighbour on New Year’s Day.
They were restored when the two countries found a compromise a few days later.Analysts say the opposition has been using the gas deal as a political tool. A new government’s not expected to emerge until after the parliamentary elections.