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KIEV, February 12. /ITAR-TASS/. Leader of Ukraine’s opposition UDAR party, boxer-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko “casts doubt on his leadership skills” refusing to participate in televised debates with President Viktor Yanukovich, first deputy chair of the ruling Party of Regions’ parliamentary faction Mikhail Chechetov said on Wednesday.
After Yanukovich agreed to hold televised debates, Klitschko “strongly changed his position and put forward knowingly unacceptable conditions,” he said.
“Declining to debate with the president, Klitschko as boxers say gets technical knockout,” Chechetov said. “It is not ruled out that the opposition leader’s foreign sponsors and advisers influenced his decision. They realise the boxer will have nothing to say during such a discussion. They fear that Klitschko’s rating after debates with the head of state will be knocked out.”
Yanukovich “has what to say to Ukrainian citizens” during debates, the faction chair said.
Speaking on Kiev’s central Independence Square on February 9 Klitschko said Yanukovich had invited him for public debates.
Parliamentarian from the Party of Regions Anna German said such debates could take place if Klitschko accepted the president’s invitation.
“Yanukovich is the president of the whole country and not only of that part that has gathered on Independence Square, therefore he should talk with the whole Ukraine,” she said. “If Klitshcko is ready to start a discussion in a nationwide format, I think Yanukovich’s call for debates remains in force.”
Klitshcko said on Tuesday he “is set to take part in televised debates with Yanukovich,” but at first, the president “should take a brave step.” “Amid such strong political and economic crisis his team has brought Ukraine in, he should recognise his responsibility and step down. Within the framework of the presidential campaign I am ready to meet with Yanukovich at debates at any time.