Prime Minister Calls For Probe Into Ukrainian Currency Collapse

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko called Saturday on prosecutors and a corruption watchdog to probe the plunge in the country's currency, which she has blamed on her political rival, President Viktor Yushchenko.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko.

She told a press conference she had sent a report to the Global Witness group, which campaigns against corruption, and the state prosecutor and the national security service, while expressing doubts about their honesty.

Tymoshenko, who is in open conflict with Yushchenko, said Friday that the president should resign for "making money on people's grief."

Earlier in the week she accused the president of provoking the plunge of the hryvnia's value, with the support of the national bank, to boost his personal fortune and weaken her government.

"They are pushing the country toward bankruptcy," added Tymoshenko, who is likely to challenge Yushchenko for the presidency in elections due late 2009 or early 2010.

Yushchenko for his part has accused Tymoshenko of populism, saying this was one of the causes for the national currency's collapse.

The hryvnia has lost nearly half its value against the dollar over the last six months amid global financial turmoil, sending Ukrainians rushing to swap local money for dollars and euros in scenes that have recalled the chaotic 1990s.

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko are allies turned bitter rivals who have regularly denounced each other in recent months over topics including a gas dispute with Russia and Russia's war with Georgia in August.

Source: AFP

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