UKRAINE COUNTS ON WESTERN HELP TO CLOSE CHORNOBYL. Presidential spokesman Oleksandr Martynenko said on 16 June that President Leonid Kuchma expects the G-8 summit will grant financial assistance to Ukraine for the completion of reactors at the Rivne and Khmelnytskyy nuclear power plants. In 1995 the G-7 promised that assistance to compensate for the loss of electricity following the closure of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Martynenko's statement was in response to Germany's expected opposition to the nuclear credits at the G-8 summit in Cologne this week. The German parliament's environmental committee voted on 15 June to block the credits and offer Ukraine funds only for nonnuclear power plants. Meanwhile, a dozen Greenpeace activists on 16 June chained themselves to two minibuses at the entrance to the Rivne nuclear plant with a banner reading "No Western Money for New Chornobyls." JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPEALS TO EUROPE OVER FREEDOM OF SPEECH. The Supreme Council has adopted an appeal to the Council of Europe and European parliaments and governments to help protect freedom of speech in Ukraine, UNIAN reported on 15 June. "Lawlessness rules in Ukraine where the president is forcing freedom of speech to its knees," the document reads. The appeal describes the coverage of the current presidential election campaign in Ukraine as biased in favor of the incumbent president, pointing to what it calls the almost total control over the information sphere by the executive. "All this can inflict irreparable harm on Ukraine's democratic development," the appeal warns. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT'S AIDE ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING. The 16 June "Den" reported that a parliamentary investigation commission has accused parliamentary deputy Oleksandr Volkov, President Leonid Kuchma's close aide and chief re-election campaigner, of money laundering. The commission said the accusation is based on information received from Belgian judicial authorities. According to the commission, a Belgian judge has ordered to freeze 135 million Belgian francs ($3.5 million) in Volkov's Belgian bank account and to confiscate his private property and luxury cars. JM