Ukraine's Yushchenko Criticizes Councils Over Status Of Russian

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko considers regional administrations have overstepped their authority by reinstating Russian as an official language, the president's press secretary said Friday.

President Viktor Yushchenko

Irina Gerashchenko said Yushehcnko disapproved of decisions made by the Lugansk Region and the Kharkov and Sevastopol city councils in largely Russian-speaking areas in the country's east and south to give Russian the status of an official regional language.

"The president expresses his deep concern over these displays of sovereignty, and believes the local councils have exceeded their authorities in making these decisions," she said.

The president has sent a letter to Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko demanding that measures be taken to bring the decisions of the local councils into line with the country's constitution, Gerashchenko said.

Yushchenko has also asked Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to accelerate the process of forming a more efficient system of institutional and legal provisions for state-language policy, she said.

Many Ukrainians speak and understand Russian, which was the dominant language in the times of the Soviet Union, but Ukrainian became the country's sole official language after it declared independence in 1991.

Source: RIA Novosti