UKRAINIAN DEPUTY PREMIER SEES HUSBAND'S ARREST AS 'POLITICAL REVENGE'... Yuliya Tymoshenko told Interfax on 21 August that her husband's arrest is an act of "political revenge" against herself for seeking to curb shady operations and corruption in Ukraine's fuel and energy sector (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 August 2000). She estimates that her efforts have reduced the volume of deals in the shadow economy by some $5 billion hryvni ($920 million) annually. "Naturally, the companies that worked in the shadow economy and obtained huge profits have exerted political influence on officials at all levels to political authority in order to bring back the entire shadow, corrupt system to the fuel and energy sector," she commented. Tymoshenko said the charges against her husband are groundless, adding that all losses in the scrap metal export case, in which her husband is alleged to have committed embezzlement, were fully repaid in 1997. JM

...VOWS TO DEFEND HERSELF 'BY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS.' Tymoshenko told journalists on 22 August that a special task force searched the offices of Ukraine's Unified Energy Systems the previous day and "simply tormented the employees" by tying their hands and forcing them to lie down. She said the action resembled the political repression measures in the USSR in the 1930s. She added that she, too, may be arrested in connection with her husband's case. Yuliya Tymoshenko headed the Unified Energy Systems from 1995-1997. "I will defend myself with all possible means that are envisaged in the legislation in force," she noted. She added that the rest of her family is "secure" and "out of the reach" of those whom she suspects of taking revenge against her. JM

EXPERT SAYS UKRAINE TO HARVEST LESS GRAIN THAN LAST YEAR. Yurii Makarov, an expert from the International Grains Council, told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service on 22 August that this year's grain output in Ukraine will be lower than last year's. The government expects the current crop to be higher than in 1999, when the country harvested a record low of 24.5 million tons of grain, according to official data. Makarov said, however, that the 1999 grain output was in fact 23.7 million tons, while this year's will barely reach 23 million tons. Makarov noted that the main reasons for the poor harvest in Ukraine are high fuel prices, the shortage of fertilizers and pesticides, and unfavorable weather conditions. According to Makarov, Ukraine's recent restrictions on grain exports are likely to have a positive influence on the economy. JM

UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ON WAR PATH. The Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) said in Kyiv on 22 August that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) is not an Orthodox Church according to canonical law, Interfax reported. The statement follows last week's refusal by the Russian Orthodox Church to grant its Ukrainian branch autonomous status (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 August 2000). The Kyiv Patriarchate bishops also condemned the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian branch for the "unwillingness to jointly overcome the split in Ukraine and unite Ukrainian Orthodoxy into a single local Ukrainian Orthodox Church." Meanwhile, Premier Viktor Yushchenko commented the same day that the government will not interfere in Orthodox Church affairs. JM

LATE RUKH LEADER RECEIVES 'HERO OF UKRAINE' TITLE. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has signed a decree posthumously granting the title of "Hero of Ukraine" to Vyacheslav Chornovil, a famous Soviet dissident and leader of the Popular Rukh of Ukraine, Interfax reported on 22 August. Chornovil, who died in a car accident last year, was also given the Order of the State for "the significant personal contribution to the national revival of Ukraine, consistent promotion of the ideas of independence, [as well as] vigorous social and political activity." JM