- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2005

KIEV — Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko dismissed his Cabinet yesterday amid swirling accusations of corruption, saying members of the fragile coalition formed after last year’s Orange Revolution had turned on one another.

The dissolution of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s government, coupled with the president’s decision to accept the resignation of Petro Poroshenko, the powerful head of the Security and Defense Council, left the president looking increasingly isolated.

Still, Mr. Yushchenko appeared at ease as he addressed journalists, even with the resignations of four top-level aides since Saturday.

“I knew that there were definite conflicts between those people … [but] I hoped that there would not be enough time for intrigues,” Mr. Yushchenko said. “Those were my hopes.”

He made his abrupt move after former Orange Revolution allies leveled accusations of corruption against top presidential aides, including Mr. Poroshenko, whose agency controls the military and law-enforcement services. Mr. Yushchenko called the accusations “groundless but very strong” and said they demanded a reaction.

He said he hoped Mrs. Tymoshenko and Mr. Poroshenko would remain part of his team, but insisted they must agree to work together.

Mrs. Tymoshenko, who controls a powerful bloc in parliament, was considering her next move, which could be to go into opposition to the president, according to Valentyn Zubov.

“The thing that the president did today can only be called a betrayal,” he said.

Aleksandr Turchinov, head of the State Security Service and a close Tymoshenko ally, also announced his resignation yesterday, as did Vice Prime Minister Mykola Tomenko.

Mr. Tomenko accused Mr. Poroshenko and others of corruption.

“I have realized that some people steal and others resign,” Mr. Tomenko, who left his post in charge of humanitarian affairs, told reporters.

On Saturday, Mr. Yushchenko’s chief of staff, Oleksandr Zinchenko, resigned and leveled charges of corruption against high-level officials, including Mr. Poroshenko.

Mr. Yushchenko appointed lawmaker Yuriy Yekhanurov, a former economics minister who now heads a parliamentary committee on industrial issues, as acting prime minister.

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