Presidential Secretariat denies that Yushchenko grabbed PM’s plane
The State Executive Office has five planes
The Ukrainian Presidential Secretariat denies the Prime Minister’s statement that as if President Victor Yushchenko grabbed the plane by which Yulia Tymoshenko was due to fly to Moscow on Thursday.
President’s press-office head Larysa Mudrak said to an UNIAN correspondent that, by security canons, they always prepare two planes, main and “reserve”, for President’s flights.
After the emergency landing, the President left for Lviv namely by his reserve plane, she said.
L.Mudrak pointed out that, on the whole, the State Executive Office has five planes for flights of the President, the Prime Minister, and the Verkhovna Rada Speaker.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was delayed flying to talks in Moscow on Thursday when President Viktor Yushchenko, her estranged political ally, commandeered her plane, she told reporters.
Tymoshenko told journalists accompanying her on the trip that Yushchenko had taken over her aircraft without warning and used it for his own trip to western Ukraine, Reuters reported.
Tymoshenko was due in Moscow to discuss the thorny issue of Russian natural gas prices for 2009.
The reporters said government officials had found a charter aircraft and she had taken off for Moscow with a small delay.
Yushchenko`s press service said a plane taking him to the western city of Lviv had developed technical difficulties and returned to Kyiv, where he had taken a "reserve" plane.
It gave no indication that the aircraft had originally been designated for Tymoshenko.