UKRAINE'S KANIV FOUR AGREES TO FIELD MARCHUK AGAINST KUCHMA. The so-called Kaniv Four election alliance of Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr Moroz, Volodymyr Oliynyk, and Oleksandr Tkachenko have agreed to throw their support behind Marchuk as the challenger to incumbent President Leonid Kuchma in the 31 October presidential ballot, AP and Reuters reported on 25 October. "We have agreed on the candidacy of Yevhen Marchuk. The date for the others to withdraw their candidacies will be announced later," Tkachenko commented. Press spokesmen for Marchuk and Moroz also confirmed that the four had agreed on Marchuk's candidacy. However, Moroz's spokesman said that for now the deal is "just a declaration" and that the other candidates do not need to formally pull out until 27 October. JM

UKRAINE CRITICIZES RUSSIA'S 'INDISCRIMINATE' ATTACKS IN CHECHNYA. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk on 22 October said Ukraine "unambiguously condemns the terrorism that has caused the escalation of tension in Russia's south," Interfax reported. However, Tarasyuk added that Ukraine "cannot welcome the indiscriminate character of military actions in Chechnya, as a result of which the peaceful population is also suffering." JM

KUCHMA VOICES CONCERN ABOUT ISLAMIC EXTREMISM THREAT IN UKRAINE... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said in Crimea on 23 October that Ukraine is facing a threat of Islamic extremism and called on security officials to protect the country. "It's a fact that this problem exists today, the question is only--to what extent," AP quoted Kuchma as saying. Kuchma's remarks followed an unconfirmed press report that Chechen militants are trying to establish themselves in Crimea (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 1999). Meanwhile, a congress of Chechens living in Ukraine on 24 October condemned the Russian military campaign in Chechnya and called for international intervention "to stop the Russian aggressor." JM

...OBTAINS TITLE OF 'HONORED CRIMEAN.' The Presidium of the Crimean parliament has conferred the title of "Honored Crimean" on President Kuchma for his services to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Kuchma received this news on 23 October as he was opening a 236-kilometer pipeline in southern Crimea, which will provide gas to some 30 percent of the peninsula's population. "We have shown that we can keep our word," Kuchma commented on the construction of the pipeline, which was completed in one year under Kuchma's personal supervision. JM

POLISH POLICE SMASH ARMS SMUGGLING GANG. Police squad in Rzeszow, southeastern Poland, have arrested six Moldovans and one Ukrainian in a crackdown on an arms smuggling gang, Polish Television reported on 24 October. The police said they seized 120 hand grenades, 5 kilograms of plastic explosives, 100 meters of fuse wire, and an anti-tank rocket launcher with a "super-modern armor-piercing missile." The police suspect the weapons were ordered by Warsaw gangs. JM