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Ukraine Zeroes In On Leader For Interim Government

With Ukraine in a political limbo following the flight of its president Saturday, the name of Arseniy Yatsenyuk is being put forth as the country's next leader until new elections are held in May. Yatsenyuk is a member of the Batkyvshchina party, whose leaders include former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

On Wednesday, a announced, "Began collecting signatures under the agreement on forming a coalition. The government will be voted on Thursday," according to a web-based translation service.

From Voice of Russia and the Agence France-Presse:

"His nomination was announced in front of tens of thousands of people on Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of three months of protest that culminated in the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, along with an entirely new cabinet."

Speaking about the plan to form a new government, Yatsenyuk said, "those who go to this government, on the one hand, save the country; on the other they must be aware that they are committing political suicide," according to a translation of the web page.

Some Ukrainians were alarmed today after Russian President Vladimir Putin put more than 100,000 Russian troops, along with planes and tanks, on an unexpected high alert for war games near Ukraine. A Russian minister tells the Tass news agency that the surprise inspection of the troops isn't related to the situation in Ukraine.

"Generally speaking, it is not. We do not relate these things in any way," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said. "The exercise will take place on Russia's border with other countries as well, and Ukraine may be among them."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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