Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned from his position on Thursday in protest at the disbanding of the ruling parliamentary coalition, plunging the already conflicted nation into political uncertainty.
Yatsenyuk announced his decision in front of parliament, saying, “I announce my resignation in connection with the dissolution of the parliamentary coalition and the blocking of government initiatives.”
Yahoo! News reports that Yatsenyuk added the “government and the prime minister must resign” after several parties withdrew and broke up the European Choice parliamentary majority. The move paved the way for long-awaited early legislative elections.
Parliamentary speaker Oleksander Turchynov called on deputies to put forward a candidate to take Yatsenyuk’s place “until parliamentary elections are held.” Early elections have been expected since Kremlin-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February after months of deadly protests.
The Ukraine Prime Minister’s resignation comes exactly one week after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Planes carrying the remains of up to 74 passengers from the plane touched down in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The country is home to more than half the victims of the fated flight.
The grieving nation is mourning those killed in the crash. Of the 298 people aboard Flight 17, 193 were Dutch citizens. A surface-to-air missile is suspected to be the cause of the plane’s crash, which happened where groups of pro-Russian rebels are battling Ukrainian government forces.
While world governments struggle to cope with the loss of life from Flight 17, the fighting continued in Ukraine, where rebels allowed bodies from the crash to leave and handed over the Malaysia Airlines plane’s black boxes for data analysis. The Washington Post notes that Australia’s leader announced Thursday he was readying a policing team that will hopefully join an eventual United Nations mission to secure Flight 17’s crash site about 40 miles east of Donetsk.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation and the formal dissolution of the majority in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada will allow President Petro Prorshenko the right in the next month to announce a fresh parliamentary role.
Proshenko pledged that the possibility of upcoming elections won’t paralyze the work of parliament at a time when the country is struggling to end a separatist insurrection that is tearing the country’s eastern region to pieces.
While the prime minister announced his resignation, artillery explosions could be heard around Donetsk. The most intense fighting in the country appeared to be coming from a contested area near the Donetsk airport. It is unclear what Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation means for the country’s long-term political stability.