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Rosary beads hang on a barricade in Kiev's Independence Square Darko Bandic/AP/Press Association Images
ukraine crisis

Unity government to be formed in Kiev, as US stops just short of endorsing interim leader

The White House has called for a technocratic government to be installed to promote early elections.

THE INTERIM PRESIDENT of Ukraine is due to form a unity government today, in the wake of the toppling of Viktor Yanukovych following mass violence last week.

The pro-Russian leader was ousted at the weekend and in interim administration headed by Yanukovych long-term opponent Olexander Turchynov installed.

The US last night shopped just short of fully endorsing Turchynov as the country’s legitimate ruler ruler, but called for a technocratic government in Kiev to promote early elections.

White House spokesman Jay Carney noted that Yanukovych was “not actively leading the country at present” and that Washington could not confirm where he was.

Carney said that the White House had seen that the Ukrainian parliament had “lawfully elected its new speaker” and supported efforts to get the political situation under control and “ensuring that the institutions of government are working.”

Asked whether the United States therefore saw Turchynov as the legitimate leader of Ukraine, Carney simply repeated the phrase that Washington had seen he had been elected leader of parliament.

President Barack Obama’s spokesman said the United States was preoccupied with promoting a non-violent process in Ukraine that resulted in a multiparty technocratic government that could help move towards early elections.

He also stressed that the United States believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom Obama spoke on the crisis on Friday, had an interest in ensuring a peaceful transition of power in Kiev.

“There is no contradiction in Ukraine and Ukraine’s people deciding to move forward with further integration with Europe while Ukraine and the Ukrainian people maintain their strong historic cultural and economic ties to Russia.”

“We believe that’s entirely appropriate.”

Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev had earlier branded Ukraine’s new leaders as mutineers, and said that western nations that thought otherwise were deluded.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Yanukovych, the last reported sighting of whom was in Crimea.

Includes reporting from AFP.

Read: Pussy Riot members among 200 detained after courthouse protest

Read: ‘Wanted for mass murder’ — Arrest warrant issued for toppled Ukraine leader Yanukovych

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