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News :: International
"Democratic" Pro-Western Stooge Running Scared in the Face of Demands of Eastern Ukrainians for Freedom & Respect
29 Nov 2004
Pro-Western Ukrainian National Extremists Running Scared By Easterners' Demands for Freedom & Respect
Autonomy calls grow as Kiev impasse deepens
Sunday 28 November 2004, 16:52 Makka Time, 13:52 GMT
Officials in eastern regions promoting autonomy pose a threat to Ukraine and will be held criminally responsible for their actions, liberal presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko has warned.
Addressing supporters in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Sunday, Yushchenko said officials in the eastern part of the country "could take a decision which would threaten the country's territorial integrity".
"Those people who will raise the issue of separatism will be held criminally responsible under ... the Ukrainian constitution," he said. Eastern Ukraine voted solidly for Yanukovich.
Yushchenko demanded that prosecutors open a criminal inquiry against regional leaders threatening to declare autonomy. "We demand the opening of a criminal inquiry against the separatist governors."
Ukraine's parliament had earlier boosted opposition supporters by declaring invalid last week's presidential poll handing victory to Yanukovich.
However, Saturday's ruling, which highlighted widespread fraud in the elections, has no legal force as parliament claims no jurisdiction over the validity of elections.
The declaration was issued two days before a Supreme Court case examining Yushchenko's complaints of poll irregularities and as the European Union said it wanted to see new elections.
The overwhelming vote, which also expressed no confidence in the Central Election Commission overseeing the election, was taken a day after the rivals agreed at a meeting with mediators to meet regularly to resolve their differences.
"This was an extraordinarily difficult day," parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn told Interfax Ukraine news agency. "Political leaders will now have to objectively analyse the possibilities and limits of compromise.
That prospect looked increasingy distant on Sunday with the outgoing president Leonid Kuchma saying the working group talks between the feuding rivals for the presidency were going badly.
In a televised statement, Kuchma also said that Yushchenko was not showing "good will" in lifting a blockade by his supporters of government offices.
Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich
urged to break away from Kiev
Meanwhile, Yanukovich, and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov attended a meeting of Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions where local officials demanded autonomy.
Amid growing fears of a split in the country following the disputed 21 November poll, the pro-Russian Yanukovich attended the meeting of 3500 local officials from 17 regions in the eastern city of Severodonetsk where threats of declaring autonomy were made, Interfax news agency reported.
As the political winds appear to shift in favour of Yushchenko, eastern and southern Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine have stepped up autonomy demands. Yuschenko is supported by the mainly western-orientated western half of the country.
"We had hoped for a peaceful resolution of the crisis, but Saturday's parliamentary meeting showed it wasn't to be," Boris Kolesnikov, the speaker of the legislature of the eastern Donetsk region, was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS news agency.
"Therefore we call on all cities to hold votes of no confidence in the government and the creation of a new Ukrainian government in the form of a federal republic, the most democratic form of government," said Kolesnikov.
He suggested forming a "Southeastern Republic" with a capital in Kharkiv, Interfax reported.
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