WHEREABOUTS OF DISAPPEARED BELARUSIAN OPPOSITIONISTS UNKNOWN. Prosecutor General Aleh Bazhelka told journalists on 25 May that investigators have no information about the whereabouts of former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka, former Deputy Prime Minister Viktar Hanchar, and Anatol Krasouski, who disappeared in 1999, Belarusian Television reported. Bazhelka also said that official expertise has confirmed that it was former National Bank Chairwoman Tamara Vinnikava who had called Belarus last year after her disappearance from house arrest (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 21 December 1999). He added that her whereabouts are also unknown. Bazhelka announced that it is not ruled out that the Prosecutor-General's Office will appeal the verdict on former Premier Mikhail Chyhir (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 May 2000), adding that investigators are now working on different "episodes of Chyhir's illegal activity" from those examined by court. JM

UKRAINE TO DESTROY ALL STRATEGIC BOMBERS BY END OF 2001. Defense Ministry official Volodymyr Shapovalov told Interfax on 25 May that Ukraine will dismantle its last 15 Soviet-era strategic bombers and 354 cruise missiles by the end of 2001. Shapovalov added that Kyiv will also destroy five Tu-95 aircraft that Russia had sent to Ukraine for repairs but failed to pay for that service. According to Shapovalov, Ukraine will sign an agreement with two U.S. companies in May on destroying 46 SS-24 intercontinental missiles and their launching complexes by the end of 2005. "The U.S. government guarantees sponsorship of all work until the end regardless of their duration," Shapovalov noted. JM

CONCERNS REMAIN OVER DISMISSAL OF CRIMEAN GOVERNMENT. Ukraine's First Deputy Premier Yuriy Yekhanurov on 25 May said the Crimean legislature's ouster of the Crimean cabinet (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 2000) will destabilize the situation on the peninsula, Interfax reported. "The economy is improving and positive trends are increasing, so the tension that took place [in Crimea] is quite absurd," Yekhanurov commented. Presidential administration staff chief Volodymyr Lytvyn said the same day that President Leonid Kuchma has every reason "to cancel" the ouster of Serhiy Kunitsyn's cabinet. Kunitsyn said the legislature dismissed him to protect patrons in the peninsula' energy sector from an anti-corruption drive he had launched. He noted that there "were no economic arguments" against his government, adding that it had spurred industrial growth early this year and reduced its debt to public sector workers, AP reported. JM