25 Jul 2014

PM quits, complicating MH17 probe

9:22 pm on 25 July 2014

Ukraine's Prime Minister has resigned after the collapse of his governing coalition, again plunging the former Soviet state into political limbo.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaking to MPs on Thursday.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaking to MPs on Thursday. Photo: AFP / Ukrainian Prime Minister Press

Thursday's shock announcement added to an already chaotic situation in the rebel-controlled east, where international experts are conducting a complex investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 on 17 July killing all 298 on board.

The gravity of the situation facing the country has been underscored by US allegations it has evidence Russian troops are firing on Ukrainian military positions from Russian soil, AFP reports.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he was stepping down over the "dissolution of the parliamentary coalition and the blocking of government initiatives" after several parties walked out on the ruling group.

The collapse of the coalition paves the way for early elections to be called by President Petro Poroshenko within 30 days.

Although a truce has been declared by both rebels and government forces in the immediate vicinity of the vast crash MH17 site, heavy shelling was ongoing nearby including around Donetsk, just 60km from the scene.

Countries which lost 298 citizens in the disaster are looking to deploy armed police to secure the impact zone, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announcing that the Netherlands was sending 40 unarmed officers in.

"On the site it is still clear that nothing is happening without the approval of the armed rebels who brought the plane down in the first place," said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose country lost 28 citizens in the crash.

Mr Abbott has placed 50 Australian officers on stand-by in London.