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Viktor Yushchenko named fiery former opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko as his acting prime minister
Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko named fiery former opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko as his acting prime minister, his spokeswoman said. Yushchenko signed the order before leaving on a one-day visit to Russia, Ukraine's largest trading partner and key energy supplier that has named Timoshenko a suspect in a criminal corruption investigation. "Yulia Timoshenko has been named acting prime minister ... by a decree signed today," spokeswoman Olga Grishina said. "This means she will carry out the duties of the office until parliament examines her candidacy", reports Sydney Morning Herald. Tymoshenko, with her trademark blond braid was Viktor Yushchenko's most visible ally in the "Orange Revolution" that paved the way for Yushchenko's victory in Ukraine's fiercely contested presidential race. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Tymoshenko said her first tasks as prime minister would include reviewing the national budget and restarting Ukraine's efforts to join the European Union. Ukraine's new leadership cannot go into the EU integration processes "half-ready," she said. "It is a bilateral process and Ukraine cannot decide by itself when it will join the EU", writes the Seattle Post. According to the Xinhua News, after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a lightning visit to Moscow, the first foreign trip after he was sworn in as the new leader of Ukraine on Sunday, Yushchenko noted that both countries share great prospects for cooperation in the economic fields, which "can be maintained both at a bilateral level and at a multilateral level," the Itar-Tass news agency reported. The Ukrainian president welcomed Putin's call for joining the common economic space that is also jointly developed by Kazakhstan and Belarus, but premising that the accession "should meet our national interests and documents to be adopted won't prevent Ukraine from moving towards other markets." Putin pointed out that the economy and the interests of concrete people is the key factor and an agreement, which is expected to be signed in the near future, will focus on free movement of people, goods and capitals that make economies of bothcountries more competitive.
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