DONETSK, Ukraine, 24 July-2014, WSP: As intense fighting continued Thursday in eastern Ukraine, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation after two parties said they would pull out of the governing coalition, according to news service reports.
“I am announcing my resignation in connect with the collapse of the coalition,” Yatsenyuk said in parliament. He said parliament could no longer do its work and pass necessary laws, according to the Associated Press.
The nationalist Svoboda party and the Udar party led by former boxer Vitali Klitschko pulled out of the coalition. Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said it was up to those parties to propose a candidate for temporary prime minister to lead the government until early parliamentary elections can be held.
Meanwhile, artillery explosions could be heard around Donetsk on Thursday, a day after separatists fighting the Kiev government claimed responsibility for shooting down two warplanes near where a passenger airliner crashed last week after being struck by a missile. The most intense fighting appeared to be coming from a contested area near the city’s airport. Despite the clashes, Australia’s leader said Thursday that he was readying a policing team of 50 officers who he hopes will join an eventual United Nations mission to secure the airliner’s crash site, which is 40 about miles east of Donetsk.
The attack on the warplanes came just six days after the Malaysia Airlines disaster, which has drawn international outrage and showcased the advanced firepower that apparently is available on the ground in the region. The Ukrainian military said Wednesday that the two Sukhoi Su-25 strike aircraft were flying at nearly 17,000 feet — an altitude that is out of the reach of the shoulder-fired missiles that the rebels said they had used to down the jets.