KIEV, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine's government is prepared to conduct constitutional changes that would grant more say to local governments on budget and tax policy and give the Russian language a special status in efforts to overcome the current crisis in the country, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said here Friday.
"The Ukrainian government is ready to conduct comprehensive constitutional reform that will strengthen the regions' powers," Yatsenyuk said in a televised address to the nation.
Within the framework of reform, Kiev would give executive powers to locally elected officials in place of those currently appointed by central government, he said.
He also promised to amend the country's Budget and Tax codes in a bid to transfer economic and financial powers to the regional governments.
"We will accord special status to the Russian language and protect this language," the prime minister said.
At present, millions of Ukrainians speak Russian as a first language in regions where Russian-speakers form a majority, while some other languages are spoken in certain parts of Ukraine, notably Hungarian, Romanian and Slovak in the west.
Constitutional reform on decentralization is one of the key demands of pro-Russian protesters, who seized several government buildings in eastern Ukrainian cities.