UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS NO REASON TO DISBAND PARLIAMENT... Leonid Kuchma told a forum of businessmen in Kyiv on 30 May that there are "no political, legal, economic, or other reasons" to hold early parliamentary elections in Ukraine, Interfax reported. Kuchma said some political forces unhappy with the political stability in Ukraine are trying to campaign for early elections. He noted, however, that it is premature to predict that the pro-government parliamentary majority has already acquired "a stable and permanent character." JM

...WARNS AGAINST OVERESTIMATING ECONOMIC GROWTH. Kuchma said he is "resolutely opposed" to exaggerating the impact of the 10 percent industrial-production growth in Ukraine in the first quarter of this year. In his opinion, Ukraine's production sector is "very inert" and this year's growth has resulted not only from "recent decisions and measures" but also from "all the past work." "The growth impetus has not become stable yet, it may exhaust itself very soon," he warned. Kuchma also expressed his concern that economic improvement has not translated into higher wages for average Ukrainians or into a reduction of the existing wage and pension arrears. He said that as of 10 May, the government's wage backlog totaled $6.4 billion hryvni ($1.2 billion). JM

ANTI-RUSSIAN SENTIMENTS RISE IN LVIV OVER COMPOSER'S DEATH. Some 3,000 angry protesters marched through Lviv on 30 March chanting "Down with the Russians!" Reuters reported that later the same day, tens of thousands of Lviv residents participated in the funeral of composer Ihor Bilozir, whose death last week has raised a wave of anti-Russian sentiment in the city that is generally regarded as the seat of Ukrainian nationalism. Bilozir was fatally injured by Russian-speaking attackers who did not like his singing Ukrainian songs with friends in a cafe. One of the attackers turned out to be the son of a senior police officer in Lviv. The protesters in Lviv demanded that the authorities "deRussify Ukraine" and sack all Russian-speaking servicemen from the city police force. JM