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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PREMIER PONDERS ABOLISHING TYMOSHENKO'S PREVIOUS POST. Premier Viktor Yushchenko told journalists on 23 January that he is considering abolishing the post of deputy premier for fuel and energy, which was held by Yuliya Tymoshenko until her dismissal last week, Interfax reported. Yushchenko noted that Tymoshenko's ouster will negatively affect reform in the fuel and energy sector. Asked whether there will be more cabinet reshuffles, the premier said that depends on the ability of the government and the progovernment parliamentary majority to form a "combat fist" to push ahead with reforms. Yushchenko's spokeswoman Natalya Zarudna said the same day that the premier signed the presidential decree sacking Tymoshenko but did not specify when he did so. JM

UKRAINE'S PRO-MOSCOW ORTHODOX CHURCH SAYS POPE'S VISIT CAN STIR PROTEST. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate has warned the Vatican that Ukrainian believers may stage street protests if Pope John Paul II pushes ahead with his visit to Ukraine in June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 January 2001). "Our flock does not want the pontiff to visit [Ukraine] as long as the inter-Christian conflict with Greek Catholics is not regulated in western Ukraine. [The flock] has the right to protest the pope's visit with such actions as pickets, rallies, and processions," the Kiev Metropolitan's office (Moscow Patriarchate) told Interfax. JM

UKRAINE, POLAND SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION ACCORD. On 22 January in Yalta, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk and his Polish counterpart, Bronislaw Komorowski, signed an accord on military cooperation in 2001-2003, Ukrainian media reported. Kuzmuk told Komorowski that Ukraine could help Poland modernize its MiG-29 and Su-22 military aircraft at Ukrainian aviation repair plants to bring them in line with NATO standards. JM

PACE VOTES TO END THE MONITORING OF LATVIA. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 23 January voted to end its monitoring of Latvia, recognizing its achievements in the observance of human rights and the integration of noncitizens, BNS reported. The final report on Latvia read before the vote praised its decision to ratify a number of Council of Europe conventions and to adopt the state language law and a social integration program. The assembly urged Latvia to continue the democratic reforms and social integration of the population and to ratify the universal convention on protection of minorities which it signed in 1995. Latvia's President Vaiva Vike-Freiberga in a speech after the vote said that the multicultural environment of Latvia is reflected in its general education system that provides education not only in Latvian, but in five other languages: Russian, Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian. SG