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Kiev delays leader's Moscow visit over domestic crisis-Kremlin

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Ukraine requested the postponement of President Viktor Yushchenko's visit to Moscow, which was due to start April 3, over an escalating political crisis in the ex-Soviet state, the Kremlin press office said Monday.
MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine requested the postponement of President Viktor Yushchenko's visit to Moscow, which was due to start April 3, over an escalating political crisis in the ex-Soviet state, the Kremlin press office said Monday.

Yushchenko threatened the dissolution of parliament earlier Monday after 11 pro-presidential lawmakers joined the majority parliamentary coalition led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych March 23.

This weekend saw protests by both sides as thousands of Ukrainians demonstrated in the capital, urging the dissolution of parliament or protesting against it, in a new twist in the political crisis that has persisted since March 2006 when elections failed to produce a majority party that could form a government on its own.

"Referring to the domestic political crisis, the Ukrainian president said [to President Vladimir Putin on the telephone] that his visit to Moscow earlier planned for the next few days was impossible," the Kremlin said, confirming an earlier unofficial report on the postponement.

Yushchenko's first visit to Russia was originally slated for March 21, but was postponed after Moscow declared a day of mourning following three major accidents rocked the country one after another.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry earlier said the visit was to begin April 3. The Kremlin did not confirm the visit.

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