Ukrainian PM steps down

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MOSCOW - Vitold Fokin, the 60-year-old conservative Prime Minister of the Ukraine, resigned yesterday, beginning what the opposition hopes will be a thorough purge of Communist era officials, writes Andrew Higgins. Also due to go are 18 out of 42 cabinet members.

It is the first major government shake-up since Ukraine, which is stumbling towards economic collapse, declared itself independent just over a year ago. The changes were announced by President Leonid Kravchuk, himself a former Communist, who is struggling to stay in power in the face of attacks by the nationalist Rukh movement and critics of Ukraine's sluggish economic reform.