Ukraine's Interior Minister To Keep Post Despite Resignations

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's interior minister said Thursday he will continue serving in his post, despite a decision by the pro-Presidential Our Ukraine bloc to go into opposition against the Russian-leaning prime minister's government.

Yuriy Lutsenko

Yuriy Lutzenko was one of five Cabinet ministers that handed in their resignations in protest against Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's failure to follow through on Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko's key policy areas agreed in August, in particular joining NATO and the WTO.

As well as Lutzenko, resignation letters were filed Thursday with the country's parliament by Justice Minister Roman Zvarych; Minister on Family, Youth, and Sports Affairs Yuriy Pavlenko; Healthcare Minister Yuriy Polyachenko; and Culture Minister Ihor Likhovoi. Parliament must accept the resignations for them to take effect.

But the interior minister, who has held the post since February 2005, said President Yushchenko has changed his decision on his resignation.

"I do not intend to leave the ministry to possible followers of non-democratic agendas," he said.

Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Borys Tarasyuk, the defense and foreign ministers respectively, will also keep their posts, on the condition that they not join governing coalition.

Our Ukraine's move signals an end to efforts at forming a grand coalition of Yushchenko's six-party bloc with Yanukovych's pro-Russian Party of Regions and its allies, the Socialist and Communist parties.

Source: RIA Novosti