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Ukrainian parliament votes to keep PM Yatsenyuk

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s parliament has voted not to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Yatsenyuk had said last week he was resigning after two parties left the coalition supporting him and parliament balked at passing laws he said were essential to fund the country’s war against pro-Russian separatists.

But the parliament had to accept the resignation, and decided not to Thursday. President Petro Poroshenko had urged legislators and the government to find a compromise and keep the parliament working.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A delegation from Russia’s state aviation body hopes to visit the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in east Ukraine two weeks ago, an agency spokesman said Thursday.

Sergei Izvolsky told the AP that a delegation of Russian specialists from Rosaviatsiya was due in Kiev Thursday to participate in the investigation. He said the delegation would attempt to reach the crash site if it was safe to do so and that Russian specialists would hand over all relevant materials to the Dutch delegation.

Representatives of the Dutch and Ukrainian commissions would not comment on the arrival of Russian officials. Continuing fighting has hindered access to the crash site, located in rebel-controlled territory in east Ukraine.

Ukraine’s parliament, meanwhile, was meeting in special session to decide whether to accept Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s decision to resign.

Yatsenyuk said last week that he was resigning, which could open the way for early elections. But Ukrainian officials say the resignation must be formally approved by parliament.

Yatsenyuk said he would quit after two parties withdrew from the governing coalition. If no new coalition can be formed, early elections can be held.

President Petro Poroshenko has said he wants new elections – but also said he wants parliament to continue working in the meantime given the challenges the country faces.

The special session Thursday will also take up bills to spend more on the war against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Laura Mills in Moscow contributed to this report.