2014-02-27 18:46:48

Ukraine has new Government amid civil war threat

(Vatican Radio) Ukraine's parliament has approved an interim government that is taking over a nation facing immediate economic collapse and heightened military tensions with neighboring Russia, while armed men have taken over the parliament on the Crimean Peninsula.

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos... RealAudioMP3

Former economy minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was installed as new prime minister Thursday, but there was little to celebrate. He said ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, who reportedly fled to Russia, has been robbing the country as some “37 billion dollars of credit received have disappeared in an unknown direction."

And, he explained, about 70 billion dollars was paid out of Ukraine's financial system into off-shore bank accouunts over the past three years. Yatsenyuk claimed the state treasury was now empty and warned the economy was on the brink of collapse.

Besides immediate economic difficulties, Ukraine's new leadership was also dealing Thursday with a perceived military threat from neighboring Russia.


Acting President Oleksander Turchinov warned Russia not to intervene. He said "any military movement" by the Russian military in Crimea outside the Russian Black Sea fleet's base in

Sevastopol would be regarded as "an act of aggression".

President Turchinov issued the warning in national parliament after armed men seized the regional government and parliament buildings in Crimea, where some ethnic Russians want the area to join the Russian Federation.

A Russian flag could be seen on top of the parliament building, where barricades were put in front of the entrance with slogans such as Crimea is Russian.

"Nobody knows exactly what's happening inside," said an eyewitness outside the parliament building.


"We only saw that they occupied the building. Some 30 heavily armed men ran inside. When they took over the complex, they kicked out security personnel," he added.

Crimea was once part of Russia, where President Vladimir Putin ordered 150,000 troops to be ready for war games near Ukraine, while fighter jets were prepared for possible combat.

Russia is furious about the ouster of President Yanukovich, who is reportedly staying in Moscow under government protection.

Yanukovich said Thursday he is Ukraine's legitimate president that people in the southeastern and southern regions would never accept what he called the “lawlessness” brought by leaders chosen by a mob.

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