People light candles during a religious service at a church
in Kiev. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Acting President Oleksander Turchinov said today Ukraine
would try to improve relations with Russia but made clear that
Kiev's return to European integration would be the priority.
In an address to the nation, Turchinov spelled out the
enormity of the task facing Ukraine's new leadership
following the fall of Viktor Yanukovich, including
stabilising an economy which he said was close to default and
"heading into the abyss".
"We recognise the importance of relations with the Russian
Federation and are ready for dialogue with the Russian
leadership in order to build relations with this country on a
new, truly equitable and good-neighbourly basis," he said.
But he added: "Another priority is the return to the path of
European integration ... We must return to the family of
Turchinov, the parliamentary speaker, was handed the
president's duties temporarily in a vote in the chamber
earlier on Sunday.
He portrayed the economy as in dire straits and said economic
recovery was a key task.
"Against the background of global economic recovery, the
Ukrainian economy is heading into the abyss and is in a
pre-default state," he said.
"The task of the new government is to stop the country's
slide into the abyss, to stabilize the exchange rate,
guarantee the timely payment of salaries, pensions and
stipends, and to regain the confidence of investors, promote
the development of enterprises and the creation of new jobs."