UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS PROTEST LAND PRIVATIZATION BILL. Despite communist opposition, the parliament voted by 229 to 32 to pass in the first reading a bill that opens the way to private ownership of land, Reuters reported on 6 July. Fistfights broke out after the vote, and the following day, dozens of communist and leftist legislators walked out of the parliament, demanding a strict probe into whether some deputies whose votes were counted had been present, as the law requires. Meanwhile, some 4,000 pensioners in Dnepropetrovsk marched to protest an IMF plan that would double their utility bills, dpa reported on 7 May. PG

UKRAINE SEEKS TALKS ON DIVISION OF SOVIET-ERA ASSETS. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk urged the parliament to consult with the Russian State Duma on the ultimate distribution of the assets and liabilities of the former Soviet Union, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 July. The socalled "zero option," Tarasyuk said, does not apply because Ukraine did not ratify the original post-Soviet accord. He added that in 1999, Kyiv had secured Moscow's agreement to discuss specific properties in 36 countries and to discuss the status of 10 of those properties. PG

UKRAINE INCREASES MILITARY EXPORTS. Ukraine is to provide engines and transmissions for Pakistan's new Al-Khalid tank, Interfax reported on 7 July. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksandr Kuzmuk told "Kievskie vedomosti" on 6 July that the 24 rocket silos located in his country are as closely guarded now as they were in Soviet times. PG

SWISS TO RETURN LAZARENKO FUNDS TO UKRAINE. Ukraine's Prosecutor-General Mihail Potebenko told ITAR-TASS on 7 July that the money former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko had kept in Swiss accounts would be returned to Kyiv. Meanwhile, Ukrainian prosecutors expressed the hope that the U.S. will extradite Lazarenko, already convicted in Switzerland of money-laundering, to Ukraine to face additional charges. PG

ANTI-RUSSIAN LABELS APPEAR IN WEST UKRAINIAN CITY. Labels bearing a skull and reading "Moscow poison, Russified, beware" appeared on shops, movie houses, and other public places in Lviv last week, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 July. The labels appear to have been placed by de-Russification teams who seek to block the use of the Russian language in public life there. PG