Ukraine's parliament dismisses prime minister

A deal over natural gas supplies between &to=' target=_blank>Russia and Ukraine erupted into a legal battle in Kiev on Tuesday, with Ukraine's parliament firing the Cabinet and the government rejecting the measure as having no legal authority.

As Ukraine's politics were thrown into turmoil, analysts say the fallout from the two countries' gas row appeared to be in part the result of the Kremlin's suspected desires to see the pro-Western government disrupted ahead of crucial parliamentary elections in March.

Top Ukrainian officials dismissed the vote to fire Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov and his Cabinet, as did some of the opposition leaders who initiated the measure, calling it a ploy aimed solely at paralyzing the government.

"People just wanted to play around; this will have no effect," Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov told reporters.

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