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Ukraine's President Calls Parliament Vote 'Destabilizing'

President Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) (epa) 11 January 2006 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko continued his counterattack today against a legislative effort to sack the current government, accusing lawmakers of destabilizing the country with their 10 January no-confidence vote.

Yushchenko said the parliamentary motion to sack Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov's cabinet was "incomprehensible, illogical, and wrong." He said it "only serves to destabilize the situation."

While clearly designed to rally public support, today's statements appear to take into account the limited authority under Ukrainian law for the president to oppose the legislature's decision.

Yushchenko was speaking in the Kazakh capital Astana, where he attended the inauguration this morning of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Parliament voted to sack the government over a deal it signed with Russia in early January under which Ukraine is to pay nearly twice as much for gas supplies from Russia as it paid in 2005. The crisis was prompted after Russia's Gazprom insisted on a fourfold increase in the gas price, even suspending supplies to Ukraine and Western Europe on 2 January.

The opposition says the resulting deal is detrimental to Ukraine's national interests.