KUCHMA CONDEMNS SOVIET REPRESSION AGAINST RELIGIONS. In a statement released on 11 June, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma condemned the Soviet policy of repression against religion and the Church, Interfax reported. Kuchma recalled the liquidation of Ukraine's Autocephalous Orthodox Church in 1930 and the Uniate Church after World War II, as well as repression against Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims. "Although the Ukrainian state was not involved in these persecutions and bears no responsibility for them, I share the view that the Church should be exonerated morally and politically as a public institution harmed by the totalitarian regime," the statement reads. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS LAUNCH PROTEST MARCH FOR KYIV. Some 200 miners from the town of Krasnodon in eastern Ukraine have started a protest march due to reach Kyiv next month, Reuters reported on 11 June. Mykhaylo Volynets, head of the Independent Coal Miners Trade Union, told the agency that the march is a spontaneous protest action by people who have not been paid for more than 14 months. Volynets added that the government owes Ukrainian miners some 1.37 billion hryvni ($346 million) in unpaid wages and that miners are planning massive nationwide protests next month. JM

BULGARIA, MOLDOVA DISCUSS TRANSIT OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL. Visiting Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Nicolae Andronic on 11 June discussed with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov the transit of spent nuclear fuel from the Kozloduy nuclear plant to Russia via Moldova, BTA and Infotag reported. Andronic will present a report to the Moldovan parliament, which is to debate the ratification of the November 1997 agreement on the transit signed by Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. In 1998, the parliament rejected the ratification and allowed only a one-time transit of the spent fuel. Andronic told journalists that he also discussed with Stoyanov the lifting of visa requirements imposed by Bulgaria on Moldovan nationals. The talks also covered the status of the Taraclia district in Moldova. The ethnic Bulgarians there view the district's incorporation into the Cahul county as an infringement of there rights. MS