U.N. URGES UKRAINE TO TAKE STEPS AGAINST TORTURE . The U.N. Committee against Torture, citing Amnesty International reports of alleged torture by Ukrainian officials during investigations, yesterday urged Ukraine to adopt a new criminal code defining torture as a punishable crime, Reuters reported. The committee expressed concern over what it called a lack of independent institutions to investigate complaints of torture. It also said it was concerned by beatings which it said were routinely carried out in initiating military recruits. The committee noted what it said was Ukraine's excessive use of the death penalty in recent years. It welcomed Ukraine's adoption last year of a constitution that expressly prohibits torture and urged that a current moratorium on the death penalty be made permanent.