OPPOSITION DUMA DEPUTIES SAY DUMA MAY NOT RATIFY TREATY WITH UKRAINE. Duma CIS Affairs Committee Chairman Georgii Tikhonov predicted at a round-table discussion in Moscow that the Duma will not ratify the comprehensive Russian-Ukrainian treaty signed by Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 31 May, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 June. Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Baburin also predicted that the treaty would meet with opposition in the Duma because it left many issues open to interpretation. Both Baburin and Tikhonov belong to the left-leaning Popular Power faction, and Baburin is also leader of the nationalist Russian All-National Union. Tikhonov has previously argued that in renouncing territorial claims against Ukraine, Moscow is paving the way for Kyiv's entry into NATO.
LUZHKOV ON LENIN BURIAL, SEVASTOPOL, TROPHY ART. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov says the body of Vladimir Lenin should be removed from the mausoleum on Red Square and buried "in a Christian way," Russian news agencies reported on 10 June. He offered to organize a funeral "with all the appropriate honors." Luzhkov also said he has not changed his mind over Sevastopol, the base of the Black Sea Fleet. The Moscow mayor has repeatedly said Sevastopol is a Russian city. Russia renounced all claims to Sevastopol or any other part of Crimea when a wide-ranging treaty with Ukraine was signed recently. With regard to the trophy art law, Luzhkov said Russia lost too many cultural valuables of its own during the war to return valuables to other countries without any compensation.
UKRAINE, IRAN SIGN ECONOMIC AGREEMENT. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati and his Ukrainian counterpart, Hennady Udovenko, signed an economic cooperation treaty in Kyiv on 9 June and pledged to strengthen bilateral ties. Velayati, who is on a three-day visit to Ukraine, told journalists that a top priority for both countries is the development of relations "in the sphere of energy, oil, and gas." Iran wants to help Ukraine complete both an oil terminal near its Black Sea port of Odessa and a pipeline linking the terminal with an existing line that transports oil to Europe. Velayati also visited the Antonov airplane factory, which recently unveiled a new turboprop passenger plane to be produced in Iran under Ukrainian license. Udovenko said Kyiv attaches "great importance" to its relations with Teheran. He predicted that trade between the two countries, which currently totals $100 million a year, will rapidly increase.
UKRAINE TO BUILD TWO NEW NUCLEAR REACTORS. Nuclear Safety Minister Yuri Kostenko says Kyiv will build two new nuclear reactors regardless of whether they are financed by a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. ITAR-TASS on 9 June quoted Kostenko as saying the reactors will be built at the Khmelnitsky and Rivne nuclear power plants, in western Ukraine, even if the EBRD decides against granting Ukraine a loan to help cover the $1.2 billion project. The new reactors will replace power lost by closing the damaged Chornobyl nuclear power plant by the year 2000. Kostenko said talks with the EBRD last week were "constructive." The bank is expected to announce a decision on the loan later this month.
UKRAINIAN, MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTERS FAIL TO REACH AGREEMENT ON TRANSITING GOODS. Pavel Lazarenko and Ion Ciubuc, meeting in Chernovitsy on 6 June, failed to resolve the problem of Moldovan exports transiting Ukraine. Infotag reported on 9 June that the two premiers will discuss the problem again during Lazarenko's scheduled visit to Chisinau on 22 June. In April, Ukraine imposed a tax deposit on Moldovan goods transiting its territory in order to prevent the illegal sale of the goods in Ukraine (see RFE/RL Newsline, 9 June 1997).
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH CHINESE DEFENSE MINISTER. Leonid Kuchma told Chi Haotian during talks on 10 June in Kyiv that Ukraine wants closer ties with China, Interfax reported. Kuchma noted that bilateral military and technical cooperation is successful, and he predicted significant economic, political, and military cooperation between Kyiv and Beijing. Chi told journalists Beijing is ready to develop military ties with Ukraine and welcomes the recently signed Ukrainian-Russian friendship treaty, saying such agreements "make a major contribution to regional and international stability." Ukraine is the world's 14th largest arms exporter. Kyiv would like to sell more weapons abroad and offer repair and upgrading services to countries that possess weaponry made in the former Soviet Union. Last year, China wanted to buy SS-18 long-range missile technology from Russia and Ukraine, but the U.S. urged Moscow and Kyiv not to sell the equipment.
POPE ENDS POLISH VISIT. Wrapping up his visit to Poland, Pope John Paul II presided over an open-air mass on 10 June at the airport of Krosno, in the southeast of the country, Reuters reported. The mass was attended by some 500,000 people The pope canonized the 15th-century Franciscan monk Jan of Dukla, who in 1474 helped his people repel a Tatar attack on Lvov, now part of Ukraine. In his sermon, the Pope praised both the saint for his patriotism and modern-day Church leaders who had opposed communism. He urged Poles to cling to their centuries-old religious beliefs in the face of mounting secularism. The Polish Catholic Church said more than 6 million people attended masses and other functions with the pontiff during his visit.