KIEV &mdash Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is taking away his staff's luxury cars as a cost-cutting measure. No more Mercedes, instead, out come the Skodas.
Chief of staff Serghiy Lyovochkin said Thursday that the switch will save the government some 2 million hryvnas ($250,000) per year. He did not say how many cars were involved. Existing government-owned Mercedes will now be used to transport foreign guests.
Yanukovych, however, is to keep his Mercedes and also plans to use a helicopter to commute to his office from his residence outside the capital, Kiev.
Ukrainians have criticized the use of the helicopter as an extravagance, but the president says he is doing the city a favor by unclogging streets previously closed off to make way for his motorcade.