LUKASHENKA SAYS UKRAINE MAY JOIN RUSSIA-BELARUS UNION. Lukashenka told journalists in Minsk on 9 November that Ukraine may join the Russia-Belarusian Union "within a year" if the union "is realized and begins to develop dynamically." Lukashenka added that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan also "look closely" at developments in the union. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told the 10 November "Izvestiya" that the "Slavic union is nothing more than a political trick, an abstract theoretical construction that has no real basis or historical prospects." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BUYS MARCHUK'S SUPPORT? President Leonid Kuchma on 10 November appointed former Prime Minister and Security Service chief Yevhen Marchuk chairman of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, ITAR-TASS reported. Marchuk came fifth in the 31 October ballot with 8.13 percent backing. Both Kuchma and Marchuk have signaled their willingness to cooperate in order to defeat Symonenko in the runoff (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 November 1999). JM

UKRAINE'S RUNOFF CAMPAIGN SEEN AS 'LUKEWARM.' According to AP, "lukewarm campaigning and voter apathy" prevail in Ukraine before the presidential runoff between incumbent President Kuchma and Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko on 14 November. Kuchma's campaigners, as expected, have taken to publicizing the "red revenge" message to the electorate. Television channels broadcast documentaries about the communist horrors and compare Symonenko's view of Ukraine's future to that of Cuba and North Korea. Kuchma on 9 November appealed to young people to vote on 14 November in order to keep his rival out of office. In a bid to lure votes of the moderately leftist electorate, Symonenko's supporters have began to promote him as a reformed Communist, comparing him to Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. JM