Ukraine's prime minister said on Tuesday the country needs early presidential elections, blamed the central bank for the devaluation of the currency and added "cordial hugs" were the best way to deal with Russia, RIA Novosti reported. 

Yulia Tymoshenko gave an interview to Le Monde newspaper ahead of a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy slated for Wednesday. 

"Early elections are needed, the sooner the better. Transparent elections, without any rigging," she said adding that the elections, which she wants to be held earlier than scheduled, could lead to political stability. 

The elections are due to be held in January 2010. 

When asked what could stop her from becoming president in the near future, she said laughing: "Nothing!" 

Tymoshenko has been at loggerheads with President Viktor Yushchenko for several months as the former allies in the "orange revolution" jostle for position ahead of the elections. 

Ukraine has been hit hard by the global economic crisis with its currency, the hryvnia, depreciating 50% since September. Tymoshenko blamed the National Bank of Ukraine accusing it of "pursuing political sabotage to subvert the economy and discredit the government." 

Previously uncompromising, Tymoshenko said she had changed her rather aggressive stance towards Russia. "Its [Russia's] actions towards Ukraine have not always been correct. But I understand that I can respond to the dangers and provocations in another way rather than by confrontation and aggression - cordial hugs," Tymoshenko said.


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