MORE SHOOTINGS IN ABKHAZIA. Seven members of the CIS peacekeeping force deployed in Abkhazia and an Abkhaz police officer were injured on 11 April when unidentified assailants opened fire on their armored personnel carrier in Gali Raion, Russian agencies reported. Meeting the same day in Tbilisi with visiting Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Khandoga, Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili welcomed Kyiv's repeated offer to join the UN Secretary-General's Friends of Georgia group, which is seeking to mediate a political settlement of the Abkhaz conflict. Ukraine also offered again to send observers and a peacekeeping force to the region. LF

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT THREATENS TO FIRE MANAGERS. Leonid Kuchma has warned enterprise managers that the "democracy game is over" for them, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 April. Speaking at a meeting with executives and directors of major industrial enterprises in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Kuchma said that if managers do not resolve the crises at their enterprises by year's end, "they will have to look for a new job." The president also lashed out at former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, now the chairman of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Council of Deputies and leader of the Hromada party, for allegedly exacerbating tensions in the region and the country as a whole. In the 29 March elections, Lazarenko's party garnered some 700,000 votes in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, approximately two-thirds of the ballots cast for the party nationwide. JM

UKRAINE CRACKS DOWN ON SEXUAL SLAVERY. Kuchma on 13 April signed a law establishing criminal responsibility for trade in human beings and for forcing women into prostitution, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported. The bill provides for prison terms of up to 15 years for those guilty of sexually exploiting women. According to Nina Karpachova, a parliamentary deputy who initiated the legislation, many Ukrainian women seeking jobs abroad "are raped, beaten, and drugged" while being coerced into becoming prostitutes. Ukrainian diplomatic sources report that some 3,000 Ukrainian women are involved in prostitution in Greece and some 6,000 in Turkey. JM