Ukraine's president blasts premier

10:29, 22 December 2008
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"Without a doubt, the prime minister lost control of the situation..."

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko Sunday accused Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko of being unable to manage the economic crisis, after she lobbed corruption allegations against him, AFP reported.

"Without a doubt, the prime minister lost control of the situation a long time," said Yushchenko in a statement, also blaming his political rival for the rise in Ukraine`s inflation rate to 22 percent this year.

"I am sure the prime minister is unable to assess the economic and social processes today," he said.

Yushchenko`s comments came after Tymoshenko this week accused the president of corruption and provoking the plunge in value of the Ukrainian currency hryvnia, with the support of the national bank, to boost his personal fortune and weaken her government.

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

Tymoshenko, who is likely to challenge Yushchenko for the presidency in elections due late next year or early 2010, also called for the president`s resignation and for an inquiry into his actions, something Yushchenko shrugged off.

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.

The two are also locked in a battle over a date for legislative elections, after Yushchenko delayed the poll last month until next year despite dissolving the parliament in October.


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