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A Ukrainian oligarch and a political storm

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 02:12

Ukraine's president sacks powerful billionaire governor Ihor Kolomoisky after he was accused of sending armed men to storm the headquarters of a state-owned oil company. As Kirsty Basset reports, it comes at a critical time for war-torn Ukraine.

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Two of Ukraine's most powerful men. The country's president Petro Poroshenko - forcing oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky - to resign as governor. Billionaire Kolomoisky left the post - after being accused of sending armed men to raid this oil company - state owned UkrTransNafta. His critics say he was defending his interests in the energy sector, and directly challenging the president's legitimacy. The incident sparked an uproar - and put the role of Ukraine's super rich under the spotlight. As governor of Dnipropetrovsk Kolomoisky had been a valuable ally to the government, raising up a battalion of volunteer fighters and helping defend Ukraine from rebel advances. But on Monday, the president said he would not tolerate private armies. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "We will not have a single governor with private armed forces. This has to come to an end." In a separate move partly intended to impress Ukraine's creditors, two high ranking state officials were detained in Kiev, accused of involvement in high level corruption. IG market analyst Alastair McCaig. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) IG, MARKET ANALYST, ALASTAIR MCCAIG, SAYING: "The elimination of corruption is essential as far as Ukraine is concerned in order to get them on the right side of popularity with refinancing from the IMF." And Ukraine is still very much reliant on funds from the IMF. Earlier this month, it agreed to pump $10 billion into the country's troubled economy. It expects the economy to contract 5.5 per cent this year, as the separatist war in the east drains the country's resources. Jeremy Batstone Carr is head of research at Charles Stanley. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) HEAD OF RESEARCH AT CHARLES STANLEY, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR SAYING: "It wouldn't surprise me or anybody else if we started to see fighting break out more aggressively than it is at the moment. And that of course raises the risk of escalation which nobody wants and the financial markets are far from discounting." Meantime in Dnipropetrovsk, a new governor has been appointed - as an uneasy ceasefire in the east, holds for now.

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A Ukrainian oligarch and a political storm

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 02:12