UKRAINIAN JOURNALISTS' UNION SLAMS GOVERNMENT... The Ukrainian Media Club has accused the government of a "campaign of repression" against the press, AFP reported on 6 February. The media union--which is made up of local and foreign independent journalists--issued a statement claiming that President Leonid Kuchma and the government are behind organized harassment of the press. "Pravda Ukrainy," the largest opposition daily, was recently shut down because of a registration technicality. Also on 6 February, television journalist Sergei Mikheyev was beaten in Kherson by three men. Mikheyev, who had been investigating mafia activities, is in stable condition. Four journalists have been beaten in Ukraine so far this year. PB

...WHILE OPPOSITION DAILY SUES PRESIDENT. The largest opposition daily "Pravda Ukrainy" is suing President Kuchma for damages incurred since it has been shut down owing to a registration technicality (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 January 1998). The newspaper is seeking 5 million hryvna ($2.6 million) in damages from President Kuchma because he failed to veto the Information Ministry order to shut it down. "Pravda Ukrainy" argues that the order was unconstitutional. Meanwhile, another opposition paper, "Vseukrainskiye Vedomosty," is facing closure after losing a libel case and being handed a 3.5 million hryvna ($1.8 million) penalty by the court. PB

UKRAINIAN PREMIER WRAPS UP MINSK VISIT. Valery Pustovoitenko and his Belarusian counterpart, Serhei Ling, expressed satisfaction at the end of their two-days of meetings in Minsk, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 February. The two men signed several bilateral agreements, including one that will eliminate customs tariffs between the two countries. Ling said agreement was reached on all topics discussed, while Pustovoitenko said the two sides considered the inclusion of Belarus in a Ukrainian-Russian economic cooperation program. Pustovoitenko also met with Belarusian President Lukashenka. PB