Ukraine’s finance ministry denies “drunk” claims against minister

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KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s finance ministry denied on Thursday allegations by opposition politicians that a deputy finance minister had been drunk when he spoke to parliament on the budget this week.

Anatoly Myarkovsky, first deputy finance minister, had been suffering from high blood pressure, it said in a statement.

A parliamentary hearing was suspended on Tuesday after opposition deputies denounced Myarkovsky as drunk after he had presented a report on the 2012 budget.

“All the accusations are unjustified and unfounded,” it said, adding that doctors had diagnosed him with “arterial hypertension” and he had been treated in hospital.

On Tuesday, Myarkovsky spoke for 10 minutes on the government’s budget performance before opposition deputies assailed him with accusations of being inebriated.

Ukraine’s parliament, where the Regions party holds a small majority against a boisterous opposition which is seeking the release of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from jail, is often the scene of tussles and even fist-fights among deputies.

(Reporting by Natalya Zinets- Editing by Richard Balmforth and Elizabeth Piper)

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