UKRAINE, RUSSIA STAGE FIRST JOINT NAVY PARADE SINCE 1991. Ukraine joined Russia's annual celebration of Black Sea Fleet Day, 25 July, for the first time since the country gained independence in 1991. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov attended a joint navy parade in Sevastopol. Luzhkov stressed his view that Sevastopol belongs to Russia, adding that the issue "sooner or later will be resolved as history and justice demands," AP reported. Following a meeting with Luzhkov the same day, Kuchma said "Sevastopol is and will remain Ukrainian, I do not have any disputes on the matter with anyone," ITAR-TASS reported. JM

EU PRAISES UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT... "Let me take this opportunity to express my personal admiration for the leadership of President Kuchma and the concrete achievements of Ukraine in the past five years," Reuters quoted Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who now presides over the EU, as saying in Kyiv on 23 July. An EU delegation led by Lipponen signed agreements on oil transport and on nuclear safety and research. Lipponen pledged up to 150 million euros ($143 million) to strengthen Ukraine's banking and financial systems. He also said the EU may provide funds to complete the construction of two nuclear reactors in Ukraine. JM

...WHILE UKRAINIAN SPEAKER SLAMS HIM. Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko, a major candidate in the October presidential race, has accused President Kuchma of harboring authoritarian plans and causing the economic and social collapse of Ukraine. "The years of the current president will be remembered in history as the epoch of political cynicism, lack of action, irresponsibility, and a downfall of the entire social life," Tkachenko said in Cherkasy on 23 July, according to AP. Kuchma's leftist rivals have recently begun publicizing the idea that Kuchma may introduce a state of emergency in order to call off the presidential elections. Tkachenko mentioned the acute fuel crisis, price hikes, and a possible devaluation of the hryvnya as probable reasons for a state of emergency in the country. JM

REHN WARNS OF BOOMING CRIME IN BOSNIA. Elizabeth Rehn, who is the outgoing UN representative in Bosnia, said in New York on 23 July that Bosnia is becoming an "El Dorado of organized crime." She noted that many judges are corrupt, prosecutors afraid, and witnesses intimidated. Rehn added that criminals have recently brought more than 1,000 women as prostitutes into Bosnia from foreign countries, including Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, Reuters reported. Observers note that there are strong links between military leaders, politicians, and criminals among each of Bosnia' three main ethnic groups. During the 1992-1995 war, criminals cooperated with one another across front lines. PM

SEPARATISTS PLUNGE MOLDOVAN CAPITAL INTO THREE-DAY BLACK OUT. Electricity supplies from the Cuciurgan power plant in the separatist Transdniester region were restored on 24 July, following negotiations between Moldovan Deputy Premier Alexandru Muravschi and separatist deputy leader Viktor Sinev, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The three-day black out heavily disrupted public transportation and water supplies as well as forcing shops and businesses to close. The separatists said the restoration of supplies is "temporary" and stressed they are insisting on the immediate payment of $12 million out of the $31 million that Chisinau owes Tiraspol for electricity deliveries. Prime Minister Ion Sturza on 23 July said in the parliament that the separatists' move is politically motivated and that Moldova must increase supplies from Romania and Ukraine. MS

GEORGIA REJECTS RUSSIAN STATEMENT ON GUUAM. On 23 July, the Georgian Foreign Ministry released a statement that "no one has the right to tell Georgia with whom it can cooperate and in which spheres," Caucasus Press reported. The statement came in response to Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's remark that GUUAM (a cooperative group including Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) is becoming a military-political union. PG