The Ukrainian government Friday began issuing rationing cards in what was seen as an effort to prevent hoarding and to keep scarce products from being sold outside the republic.

Some Ukrainian nationalists saw the move as a prelude to issuing a currency in the southwestern republic, whose parliament declared sovereignty in July.The immediate result, however, was confusion and long lines of angry shoppers in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, media reports said.

Each worker, student and pensioner receives coupons equivalent to 70 percent of their monthly income along with the cash, under the system decreed by the Ukrainian Council of Ministers last Friday.

The coupons, good for six months and marked with cash values similar to ruble notes, must be presented along with rubles to purchase basic goods, such as food, gasoline, cigarettes and liquor.

"Only slightly more than half of Kiev's residents have been given coupons," reports said.