Ukraine president takes over forces

Viktor Yushchenko issues new order as political crisis deepens.

    Interior ministry troops continue to blockade the prosecutor's office [AFP]
    Tsushko, however, remained defiant, "I am told that I am interfering in politics. Well, I will keep interfering because I can no longer tolerate lies and nonsense."
    "As interior minister I will ensure order. I alone take responsibility for the forces are to be used for that purpose."

    Viktor Yushchenko

    "What [interior] minister Tsushko has done is a crime."

    Police loyal to Tsushko maintained a standoff overnight in the prosecutor general's office with a separate security unit charged with guarding government buildings.

    The president has been engaged in a long struggle for power with the prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, an ally of Tsushko.
    Mikhail Fradkov, the Russian prime minister, said his country was worried about the standoff.  
    "We are watching events taking place in Ukraine with some worry about escalation of tensions in society," he said.
    'Criminal responsibility'
    On Thursday, riot police, accompanied by Tsushko, broke into the central Kiev building housing the prosecutor general's office.

    Pro-Russian protesters are also out in
    force at the prosecutors office [AFP]

    They manhandled security guards and allowed Svyatoslav Piskun, the sacked prosecutor general, back into his office.
    Yushchenko accused the interior minister, loyal to prime minister Viktor Yanukovich, of being behind the seizure of the building.

    After summoning security ministers, Yushchenko told a news conference: "The question remains of who gave the criminal order and who will assume criminal responsibility for the use of force in resolving political conflicts.
    "What [interior] minister Tsushko has done is a crime."
    Yanukovich - Yushchenko's rival from the 2004 "Orange Revolution" – accused the president of being dictatorial.
    Political deadlock
    He said Yushchenko had put Ukraine in danger by the groundless dismissal of Piskun.
    However, he vowed his government would allow neither anarchy nor civil war.

    Alexei Haran, a Ukrainian political analyst, told Al Jazeera that Yanukovich was trying to monopolise aided by Moscow. However, he also said that civil war was unlikely.
    The president and prime minister have been at odds since Yanukovich, whose lost power to Yushchenko in 2005, made a comeback and became head of government again.

    On Wednesday, both men had called for quick action to break a deadlock over the date of the next election.
    Last month, the president issued two decrees dissolving parliament and wants a vote as soon as possible.
    Yanukovich says no election can be held before the end of September pending parliamentary approval of key legislation.

    A rally organised by supporters of the prime minister is to take place later on Friday in Kiev.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.