Yushchenko Accuses Moscow of Interference

KIEV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday accused Russia of seeking to destabilize his country by encouraging separatists on the volatile Crimean Peninsula but vowed that the Kremlin would not succeed.

"I will not be an idealist who says that there are not intentions to cause internal instability in this or that region of Ukraine," Yushchenko said. "Without a doubt such scenarios exist."

"For some of our partners, instability in Ukraine is like bread with butter," Yushchenko said.

He vowed that Russia would not do to Ukraine what he said it did with Georgia. Russia fought a short war last month with Georgia, answering an attack by Georgian forces to retake control of the separatist republic of South Ossetia by invading the country, routing its military and occupying large swaths of its territory.

Moscow has also recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian region, as independent nations.

"Will they repeat the Georgian scenario?" Yushchenko asked. "For sure, no."

Yushchenko has pushed a pro-Western course in his four years as president, seeking membership in NATO and the European Union, policies that have worried Moscow.

His government has also clashed with Moscow over the future of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Some Russian officials have long suggested that Crimea actually should belong to Russia, and there are fears that Russia is trying to step up distribution of passports on the peninsula to bolster Russian sympathies and separatist sentiment.

In the interview, Yushchenko also said his pro-Western coalition was not a threat to the country's democracy.

He accused Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko of betraying national interests and acting selfishly and said voters will not forgive her.

"Ukrainian democracy only gained after things were given their proper names," Yushchenko said. "There are not threats to Ukraine's democracy as a result of what happened."

The speaker of Ukraine's parliament formally announced that the coalition was dead Tuesday. Lawmakers now have 30 days to form a new alliance or a new election will be called.

The alliance between the two leaders' parties has disintegrated amid infighting ahead of the 2010 presidential election.

Yushchenko's allies pulled out of the coalition after Tymoshenko sided with opposition lawmakers to curtail presidential powers.