UKRAINIAN COAST GUARDS FIRE ON TURKISH FISHING BOATS. Ukrainian coast guards on 22 March opened fire on four Turkish fishing boats, sinking one vessel, killing one fisherman, and wounding another, Interfax reported. The agency said the Turkish fishermen were poaching in Ukraine's territorial waters. According to Interfax, fire was opened after the Turkish boats ignored warning shots and one vessel tried to ram a Ukrainian boat. The Ukrainian coast guards took aboard all the 18 people from the sunken boat and seized the other Turkish vessels. Ukrainian Border Guard chief Pavlo Shysholyn told Ukrainian Television that the Ukrainian side fired after "the Turkish ships...maneuvered dangerously, threatening our border guard ships." Reuters quoted a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying on 23 March that Ankara is seeking information about the incident. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS REFERENDUM DEPENDS ON COURT VERDICT. Leonid Kuchma said through his spokesman Oleksandr Martynenko on 22 March that he will cancel his decree on the 16 April referendum if the Constitutional Court rules that the vote contravenes the constitution, Interfax reported. Martynenko added that the court's ruling on the referendum "will be final in this question." The Central Electoral Commission told the agency that it is waiting for a ruling on the constitutionality of the referendum and therefore has not yet taken any decision on printing referendum ballots. The ruling is expected no later than 27 March. JM