Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Kerry, Ban announce 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

Europe

Ukraine’s president goes on sick leave at height of crisis

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-30

Ukraine’s embattled President Viktor Yanukovich on Thursday went on sick leave for an undetermined period with some accusing him of simply trying to buy himself time in the increasingly fraught negotiations to end the country’s political crisis.

“The president of Ukraine has been officially registered as sick, with an acute respiratory ailment and a high temperature,” a statement on the presidential website said.

The announcement on his health gave no sign of when he might be back at his desk or able to appoint a new government, which Moscow says must be in place before it goes ahead with a planned purchase of $2 billion of Ukrainian government bonds.

Some opposition figures said they suspected Yanukovich might be giving himself a breathing space after being forced into concessions to try to calm the unrest on the streets.

“This smacks of a ‘diplomatic illness’,” Rostislav Pavlenko, a member of boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko’s Udar (Punch) party, told Reuters. “It allows Yanukovich not to sign laws, not to meet the opposition, absent himself from decisions to solve the political crisis.”

Mykhailo Chechetov , a close ally of Yanukovich, who was last seen in parliament on Wednesday night, rejected that interpretation, saying the president had “looked ill”.

Hours after his sick leave was announced, Yanukovich turned on the "irresponsible" opposition which has refused to abandon over two months of protests despite a string of concessions, including an amnesty for jailed demonstrators.

Opposition rejects amnesty

The opposition has rejected the amnesty, however, because it is conditional on protesters leaving occupied streets and buildings 15 days after the bill comes into force.

"The opposition is continuing to inflame the situation and is calling on people to stand in the freezing cold due to the political ambitions of several leaders," he said.

He said the opposition was making "ill-considered and irresponsible announcements, thinking about their own ratings more than the life and health of people."

But in a rare show of contrition, Yanukovich also admitted he needed to take more account of the country's mood.

"From my side, I will show more understanding for the demands and ambitions of people, taking into account the mistakes that authorities always make."

No successor to PM yet

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on Tuesday after a sharp escalation of the unrest on the streets, which began in November when Yanukovich rejected a European Union deal in favour of closer ties and a bailout deal with Russia.

The president, under pressure from Moscow not to tilt policy back towards the West, has yet to appoint a successor. Serhiy Arbuzov, Azarov’s first deputy and a close family friend of Yanukovich, has stepped in as interim prime minister.

The president has not had a history of ill health. He has full control over the government and still has solid backing in parliament but there are signs of discontent in his Party of Regions over the continuing crisis on the streets.

Six people have been killed and hundreds have been injured in street battles between anti-government demonstrators and police which escalated sharply after the authorities toughened their response. A police officer who died on the street on Wednesday night took the death toll to seven.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-01-30

  • UKRAINE

    Ukraine's opposition rejects government amnesty offer

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    US readying sanctions against Ukraine, aides say

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    Ukraine on ‘brink of civil war,’ ex-president warns

    Read more

COMMENT(S)