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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Crimean Cabinet Chief Resigns in Constitutional Crisis

The head of the Cabinet in Crimea, Yevgeny Saburov, said Friday the feud between the president and parliament in the Russian-majority peninsula in southern Ukraine made his resignation unavoidable despite the president's refusal to let him go.


"I will go anyhow, I only regret having come here in the first place," Saburov said in a telephone interview from the Crimean capital, Simferopol.


Technically, the government's resignation is invalid until Crimean President Yury Meshkov endorses it, which he has refused to do. But Saburov said he simply could not continue work until "the president and the Supreme Soviet divide their powers."


"The Supreme Soviet keeps making decisions concerning taxation, foodstuffs for cattle, and so on," Saburov said. "It is a very strange collection of people. Their behavior raises concerns about their health," he said.


He added that the parliament had jeopardized the peninsula's economic recovery by halting privatization of state property.


Meshkov has repeatedly accused the 98-strong parliament, elected four months ago, of trying to remove him and his cabinet, which he said the legislature regards as the main obstacles in its attempts to seize control of property in Crimea.


Last week, after the Supreme Soviet forbade the president to appoint local governors, Meshkov attempted to disband the parliament, blocking the deputies from entering their session hall for two days and accusing them of corruption.


Meshkov and representatives of the parliament have been negotiating a solution to the crisis since Wednesday, under the supervision of the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yevgeny Marchuk.


But no progress had been made by Friday evening, according to officials in the president's office.


Meshkov insists on the so-called "zero option" proposed by the Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, which would mean that both the parliament and the president return to the status before the conflict began.


But the parliament has rejected the option, refusing to cancel its decisions on the president's powers, which its chairman Sergei Tsekov said were fully legitimate.


Meshkov invited Saburov to lead his government seven months ago, and five of the seven ministers in the cabinet arrived with Saburov from Moscow.


Saburov and the Crimean cabinet announced their resignations after Saburov claimed credit in the local Supreme Soviet for improving the peninsula's economic performance.


Meanwhile, in the national parliament in Kiev, nationalist deputies have suggested ending the legal mess on the peninsula by stripping it of autonomy altogether.