Yatseniuk was confirmed just before 3 p.m. as prime minister with 371 votes in favor of him and only one against in a 450-seat legislature.

“About $70 billion has been withdrawn from Ukraine’s financial system to offshore accounts over the last three years. Now it’s clear that they withdrew the funds that were raised as loans under state guarantees and stolen by representatives of the previous government,” he said from the parliament’s rostrum.

Yatseniuk warned that, to overcome the extent of the financial corruption in a nation with only $200 billion in gross national product, tough austerity measures will lie ahead.

“To go through these economic challenges we have no other way but take unpopular decisions regarding subsidies, tariffs, social programs,” Yatseniuk said. “The government has to take measures in order to reduce the state expenses. No Ukrainian officials have the right to use charter flights and forget about benefits (to Ukrainian people). Today there are several lawsuits against Ukraine in international courts. One of them is regarding the reimbursement of $3 billion loan that was provided to Ukraine from China under the state guarantee. In the energy sphere, we owe Russia $1.8 billion. During the last three years around $70 billion were taken away from Ukraine through offshore (accounts).”


Yatseniuk confirmed that Ukraine does not “have the money to pay off $12 billion in debts” that are due. “The treasury is empty. However, we have the opportunity to stabilize financial system. Ukraine has to start negotiations with the International Monetary Fund immediately.”

Yatseniuk said that the nation’s treasury is so bare that less than $400,000 remains.

“The biggest issue that concerns Ukrainians at
the moment is security,” Yatseniuk said, including security in the streets and at schools. “The new government of Ukraine will be using all
constitutional means to restore security. Security of the citizens is task
number 1.”


He sought, however, to strike a hopeful note for the future — if the nation can get through its political, economic and social upheavals in the short run.

Yatseniuk said that Ukraine will one day become part of the European Union and urgently called for the nation to sign a political and trade agreement with the EU.

He also urged Russia, which he called Ukraine’s partner, to
“not shelter former top Ukrainian officials who are wanted for mass murder and
crimes against humanty, primarily I am speaking about former President Viktor
Yanukovych. Russians, don’t wage
war on us. We’re friends, we’re partners, we move forward together,”

Yatseniuk said that the state debt is $75 billion, while only $15 billion remains in foreign currency reserves. Ukraine’s new government faces the task of locating missing tens of billions of dollars, he said.

“The country received loans worth $37 billion which disappeared in an unknown
direction,” Yatseniuk said. “We have only Hr 4.3 million ($400,000) on the treasury account. The unemployment
rate is growing while foreign investors are leaving. If the European
Union is ready to sign the association agreement with Ukraine, Ukrainian is
ready to sign with the European Union.”


Oleksandr Yefremov, the head of the now-opposition Party of Regions faction in parliament — which was led by Yanukovych — got jeered when he took the podium in parliament. 

He made no mention of Yanukovych’s alleged mass murders and financial corruption, instead focusing on what the less-than-one-week-old provisional government is doing wrong.

“The new government is making incorrigible mistakes.
Attacks against deputies have become usual cases,” Yefremov said. “The Verkhovna Rada adopted
language law ignoring the viewpoints of the half of residents of this country.
The continuation of this situation will lead to escalation of the situation.
New authorities should not forget about the security of people. I suggest
establishing conciliatory commission for solving the problems that emerged.”

Andriy Parubiy, another member of parliament and a EuroMaidan leaders, said Russian intelligent services tried to implement the Kremlin’s scenario of attempting to reclaim Crimea. “Now they (Russian intelligent services) are acting openly,” reads Parubiy’s statement. “Now you (the members of the parliament) need to stop any political debate and party strife. We need to unite and act together. Only this can stop provocations in Crimea,” according to Parubiy. 


Updated at 16:16 Kyiv time

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