UK

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk Resigns, Leaving Parliament In Chaos

24/07/2014 16:39 BST | Updated 24/07/2014 16:59 BST

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has announced his resignation, according to local media.

“In connection with the breakup of the parliamentary coalition, as well as non-adoption of a number of important bills, I announce my resignation,” Yatsenyuk said in the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada.

Ukraine's ruling coalition is in disarray after two political parties, the far right Svoboda party and the UDAR movement led by ex-boxer Vladimir Klitscho, pulled out. Concern is growing in the eastern European nation that no parliamentary elections have been held since the popular coup that toppled Kremlin-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych in February.

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Ukraine's now ex- Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk walks during a visit to headquarters of Ukrainian forces

“We believe that in the current situation, such a parliament which protects state criminals, Moscow agents, which refuses to strip immunity from those people who are working for the Kremlin, should not exist,” Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the nationalist Svoboda party, told parliament in response.

Tensions are fierce as the government struggles to prevent an irreversible split in the nation, which is divided along pro-Russian and pro-Europe lines, with Russian-backed militants holding key towns in the country’s east, and the area, where the civilian Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane was brought down by missile fire.

A brawl broke out in the parliament this week over a decree that would increase Ukraine's military reserves and conscript males under 50 to fight pro-Russian forces.

Rada speaker Alexander Turchinov said deputies could submit their candidacy to replace Yatsenuk to the parliament, ITAR-TASS reported.

The leader of the 'Fatherland' party, Yatsenyuk was one of the key politicians who backed the Maidan protests against Yanukovych. He was designated prime minister in the new Kiev regime when Yanukovych fled the capital for Russia in February 2014, and led the country during the Crimea crisis, which saw Russia annex the Black Sea peninsula.

He remained in the post of prime minister after Petro Poroshenko was elected President of Ukraine in June 2014.