Ukraine must continue pro-Western course, president says

This ex-Soviet republic's bid to pull out of Russia's shadow and draw closer to Western Europe appears in doubt after the Socialists withdrew from the so-called Orange coalition, and united with the pro-Russian Party of Regions and the Communists. The newly formed pro-Russian coalition, which holds 240 seats in the 450-member parliament, is expected to be formally registered in parliament on Tuesday.

Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz abandoned his former Orange Revolution allies last week when he was elected parliament speaker, a position that had been promised to a member of Yushchenko's party under the Orange team's coalition agreement. Moroz won the vote with the backing of the Party of Regions and the Communists, and the next day, his party signed a new coalition agreement with them. Yushchenko's bloc said it was formally notified Monday that the Socialists had pulled out of the Orange coalition, according to the AP.