UKRAINE'S CLOSURE OF TV STATIONS SPARKS PROTESTS. In a letter dated August 6 to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists protests the recent shutdown of four independent television stations on the Crimean peninsula. The letter dismissed Kyiv's explanation that the Crimean Radio and Television Broadcasting Center had allocated frequencies in Crimea without proper authorization. CPJ points out that government-run stations continue to broadcast, even though their licenses are the same as those of the independents. And it charges that the shutdown of the independents is a politically motivated effort "to control the airwaves in the months preceding the October 31 presidential election."

UKRAINIAN PREMIER SAYS STEPASHIN'S OUSTER AFFECTS KYIV. Valeriy Pustovoytenko told a cabinet meeting on 10 August that the dismissal of Sergei Stepashin's government "in one way or another" affects the social, economic, and financial situation of Ukraine, Interfax reported on 11 August. Pustovoytenko added that the Russian government's ouster poses "difficult questions" for Kyiv. On 11 August, Pustovoytenko spoke by telephone with new Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, with whom he agreed to meet in Moscow in late August. Pustovoytenko's spokeswoman told Reuters that their meeting will focus on economic and trade issues. JM

ONE MORE CANDIDATE TO JOIN UKRAINE'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Ukraine's Supreme Court has ordered the Central Electoral Commission to "reverse" its earlier decision and register Oleksandr Bazylyuk as a presidential candidate," ITAR-TASS reported on 12 August. Bazylyuk is leader of the Slavic Party and head of the Congress of Russian Organizations of Ukraine. If registered, he will become the 13th presidential hopeful. JM