President Victor Yushchenko said on Wednesday yesterday’s decision by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to suspend Transportation Minister Mykola Rudkovsky and Emergency Situations Minister Nestor Shufrych was “not political but obviously legal and consistent with the constitution”, according to the President`s press-office.

      “The decision has been made. This constitutional body is authorized to do this,” he told reporters in the city of Haysyn and added that the two ministers’ activity “poses a threat to national security.”

      “I would recommend that all the parties involved should not be guided by political emotions. We need ministers that are competent to perform certain duties,” he said.

      Yushchenko said the Security Council had voted “almost unanimously” to suspend Rudkovsky and Shufrych. “I insist that the prime minister act like a Christian and statesman to remove these obvious problems,” he said.

      The president said he had asked the premier to assess Shufrych’s performance at a previous session of the Security Council and added that no reaction had followed. “It is clear that blaming his political partner is the premier’s Achilles’ heel. This is a catastrophe for the coalition. … I cannot understand why the premier`s position on the issue is so unscrupulous,” he said.

      Yushchenko characterized Rudkovsky as “incompetent” and Shufrych as a “problem for the country.” “There is no such minister. He is a showman,” he said, adding that Shufrych “should have apologized” for last month’s fires in the Kherson region.