Kiev: Ukraine sought on Tuesday to ban the Communist Party more than two decades after the Soviet Union`s collapse because of its alleged support for pro-Russian insurgents battling government forces in the separatist east.
The party immediately denounced Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko`s action with the Kiev District Court as an attempt to curb Ukrainians` political rights.
Ukraine`s former acting president Oleksandr Turchynov in May accused the party of helping eastern insurgents who rose up against Kiev`s new leaders in response to the February ouster of a Russian-backed president.
The Communist Party makes up the smallest of the five factions in the Ukrainian parliament and has never seriously challenged for the presidency.
But it retains some support in Russian-speaking regions and among struggling pensioners who are nostalgic for Soviet-era social benefits.
Ukrainian Communist Party head Petro Symonenko said he intended to hire Western lawyers in his defence.
The Kiev District Court has not yet set a date for the first hearing and any ruling it issues is likely to be challenged.