Need A Ride? President Gives Archrival A Lift

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- Feuding rivals President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko of Ukraine put their differences aside on Thursday to share a car to visit the scene of a deadly explosion.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (L) and President Viktor Yushchenko sit in a car as they visit the shattered five-storey block in the Black Sea resort of Yevpatoria in the Crimea peninsula.

Both leaders, who have quarrelled incessantly over the last few weeks, travelled to the southern region of Crimea to visit the scene of the blast at an apartment block that killed 27 people in the resort town of Yevpatoria.

Tymoshenko arrived in Crimea before Yushchenko but then decided to wait for the president to visit the scene of the incident together.

They then shared the same car to Yevpatoria before going back to Crimea's main airport in a vehicle personally driven by the president and leaving on the same plane, an AFP correspondent on the scene reported.

The pair were accompanied by national security chief Raisa Bogatyriova, a Yushchenko confidant.

Simferopol airport is 70 kilometres east of Yevpatoria, so the pair would have had ample time to either clear the air or sit in silent tension.

Yushchenko and Tymoshenko were allies in the Orange Revolution of 2004 that swept them to power, but they have fallen out spectacularly in recent months, exchanging repeated accusations over Ukraine's economic crisis.

It remains to be seen whether their car-sharing heralds a thaw in their relationship.

Tymoshenko had on Wednesday accused Yushchenko of personally provoking the plunge of Ukraine's currency to enrich himself and weaken her government.

Yushchenko then did not mince his words in biting back: "She's just an adventurer in politics, who is going to drown us all because she only needs one thing: unlimited power."

Source: AFP


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