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Ukraine moves to grant more power to regions

Published on Apr 2, 2014 11:18 PM

KIEV (AFP) - Crisis-hit Ukraine took the first step on Wednesday toward granting more powers to the regions in line with Western wishes but stopped well short of creating the federation sought by Russia.

The Western-backed team unveiled its high-stakes plan under the dual pressure of tens of thousands of Russian troops massed at its border and a veiled Kremlin threat to raise the price it charges its neighbour for crucial gas deliveries for a second time in a week.

But Ukraine's new government - having won both vital financial backing from the IMF last week and morale support from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday - appeared ready to resist the Kremlin's attempts to dislodge the more Russified regions in the east of the ex-Soviet country from direct Kiev rule.

The government said it would like to eliminate the current practice under which local governors are appointed by the president and move toward an election system.

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