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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

MOSCOW SEEN TAKING UKRAINE 'AWAY FROM NATO.' In the 24 January "Kommersant-Daily," Kirill Razumovskii said that Russian-Ukrainian military cooperation is set to develop to such an extent that Ukraine, which has been tilting toward NATO, will now lean toward Moscow. PG

SOLZHENITSYN CALLS FOR HARD LINE ON CORRUPTION, UKRAINE. Writing in the 24 January "Argumenty I fakty," Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said that critics of President Putin should remember the condition Russia was in when he took power. But at the same time, the noted writer criticized Putin for eliminating the ecology committee and the forest administration. He also said that the Russian president should take a tough line against corruption and against Ukraine because of its moves against the Russian language. PG

PACE VOICES CONCERN ABOUT MEDIA FREEDOM IN UKRAINE. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 25 January adopted a resolution expressing its deep concern about "intimidation, repeated aggressions, and murders" committed against journalists in Ukraine and condemning the Ukrainian authorities for violations of the freedom of expression, Reuters reported. The resolution calls for an independent probe into the disappearance of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze and the tapes that allegedly implicate President Leonid Kuchma in Gongadze's presumed death. Meanwhile, the Parisbased human rights group Reporters Without Borders accused the Ukrainian authorities of serious failings in the investigation of Gongadze's disappearance. "Everything indicates that Gongadze was murdered because he was an inconvenience for the authorities.... Those who are responsible for this murder should be searched for at the top of the the direction of the Interior Ministry," Reporters Without Borders head Robert Menard said in Strasbourg. JM

KYIV TO SILENCE BBC, VOA, DEUTSCHE WELLE IN UKRAINIAN? The National Council for Television and Radio has announced an open tender for the 101.9 FM band, on which the Kontinent radio station rebroadcasts Ukrainian-language programs from the BBC World Service, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle, Interfax reported on 25 January. Kontinent director Serhiy Sholokh accused the government of planning to shut down the last remaining independent mass media in Ukraine or to frighten them into silence. The BBC World Service supported Kontinent, saying that offering Kontinent's frequency for sale "is a clear breach" of the council's 1997 decision to give Kontinent that frequency for 10 years. The BBC added that the tender terms "make it almost impossible for the station to retain its frequency." The council responded that Kontinent's license for broadcasting expired last year. JM

UKRAINE'S SHADOW ECONOMY SAID TO BE GROWING. Yevhen Marchuk, secretary of the Council of National Defense and Security, told journalists on 25 January that Ukraine is suffering from a continued expansion of the shadow economy sector and an outflow of hard currency abroad, Interfax reported. According to Marchuk, 52 percent of money turnover in Ukraine takes place outside the country's banking system. Marchuk said there are a lot of short-lived companies in Ukraine that "make operations with billions of hryvni and subsequently disappear," contributing to hard currency outflow. Marchuk did not mention any specific names. JM