Kiev, Reuters—Ukraine’s parliament said on Friday it had yet to receive a resignation letter from Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk so could not vote on whether to accept it, stalling work at the heart of government.
Yatseniuk, a key interlocutor of the West during much of the turmoil in the country since November, announced he was quitting on Thursday, saying parliament was betraying the people’s demands for change by failing to pass legislation.
The move by an ally of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko could hamstring decision-making as Ukraine struggles to fund a war against pro-Russian rebels and deals with the aftermath of a passenger plane crash.
Oleksander Turchinov, speaker of the parliament, said Yatseniuk’s letter of resignation had been sent from government but had yet to be received by parliament.
An aide to President Petro Poroshenko, Oleksander Danilyuk, said the resignation should not hurt what Kiev calls its “anti-terrorist operation” against rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Artillery fire echoed around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Friday for the third day, as rebels fortified defenses and Ukrainian troops moved to squeeze them further.
Local health officials said 14 people had been killed in the last 24 hours In the Donetsk region.
Kiev said it had taken the town of Lysychansk, northwest of the second separatist bastion of Luhansk.
A spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council said 13 soldiers had been killed in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 325 since the start of fighting against the rebels who say they want independence for the Donbass region.
The usually mild-mannered Yatseniuk bellowed at lawmakers before tendering his resignation on Thursday, saying politicians had failed to pass laws to take control over an increasingly precarious energy situation and to increase army funding.
“History will not forgive us,” he said, telling politicians they were at risk of losing the hearts and minds of Ukrainians who had protested for months in the “Maidan” demonstrations in favour of joining Europe and against a pro-Russian president.
He may also have been angered by a move by two other members of the parliamentary coalition to leave the ruling coalition, forcing new elections to a parliament that has kept the same make-up since before the toppling of Viktor Yanukovich.
Ukraine’s complex political landscape has become a battlefield since the toppling of Yanukovich, with members of the pro-Western former opposition often unable to overcome personal animosities to present a united front.
Yatseniuk is a member of the Batkivshchyna party led by Tymoshenko, whom Poroshenko easily defeated in a presidential election in May despite her high hopes of finally taking the top position. She had been imprisoned under Yanukovich.
Some pro-Russian analysts have suggested that she is keen to undermine her rival Poroshenko, but others note her party’s ratings have fallen since last year and its position as the biggest force in parliament could be weakened in any early election.
Ukraine’s most popular political group is now the populist Radical Party, led by Oleh Lyashko.