SIX CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS CONDEMN NATO STRIKES. Meeting in Moscow on 25 March, the defense ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan adopted a joint statement condemning the NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia as "inhuman" and "a threat to peace and security," ITAR-TASS reported. The statement said the decision to resort to force "contradicts the norms of international law" and calls into question the existence of the UN. The Georgian observer at the meeting, Colonel Guram Nikolaishvili, did not sign the statement, as he was not empowered to do so, according to Caucasus Press. It is unclear whether the representatives from Kazakhstan and Ukraine added their signatures to the statement. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Moldova did not send representatives to the meeting. MajorGeneral Alecks Agafonov, who is chief of staff of the headquarters for coordinating CIS defense, told Interfax that the ministers ruled out any CIS military intervention in Yugoslavia. LF

NATO STRIKES DRAW MORE CRITICISM IN UKRAINE. Following the Supreme Council resolutions on 24 March denouncing NATO strikes on Yugoslavia as aggression and urging the cabinet to reconsider Ukraine's nuclear status (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 March 1999), left-wing deputies have demanded more actions over the Kosova crisis. Borys Oliynyk, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, demanded the following day that Ukraine recall its ambassador from Washington and the cabinet step down for promoting cooperation with the U.S. and NATO. Petro Symonenko, head of the Communist Party, said the parliament should immediately reconsider Ukraine's relations with NATO. After an emergency cabinet session devoted to the Kosova crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Chaliy called the use of force in Yugoslavia "inadmissible" without the consent of the UN Security Council. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO STOP COOPERATION WITH IMF. The Supreme Council on 25 March voted four times to renounce the 1998 memorandum on cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF but failed by a margin of 21 votes to pass an appropriate resolution. Communist leader Symonenko told the parliament that policies outlined in the memorandum amount to the Ukrainian government's "genocide against its own people." National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko argued that World Bank and IMF loans are the only means of replenishing state reserves and financing the budget deficit, other than printing money. The parliament on 26 March voted by 231 votes to 44 to adopt a compromise resolution saying that the 1998 memorandum should be revised to correspond with Ukrainian law. JM

RUKH LEADER KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT. Vyacheslav Chornovil, leader of the Popular Rukh of Ukraine, was killed on 25 March in a car crash near Kyiv, ITAR-TASS reported. Chornovil had led Rukh since its formation in the late 1980s and became well known as a staunch advocate of Ukrainian independence. JM