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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PREMIER ANNOUNCES CABINET RESHUFFLE. Viktor Yushchenko on 30 January said a decision on a reshuffle in his cabinet may be made "within the next two to three days," Interfax reported. He did not provide any details. Meanwhile, presidential administration head Volodymyr Lytvyn said the recently discussed idea of forming a coalition cabinet in Ukraine cannot be implemented. According to Lytvyn, a coalition cabinet may be formed only following appropriate amendments to the constitution. Lytvyn noted that now the appointment of a cabinet or its members can be made only by way of consultations between the executive and legislative branches, adding that the parliament does not have a "deciding say" in this process. JM

UKRAINIAN LAWMAKER ACCUSES SBU OF PREVENTING HIM TO OBTAIN CORPSE ANALYSES. Legislator Serhiy Holovatyy on 30 January said the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) prevented him from receiving the results of an independent examination of the corpse believed to be that of missing journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, the "Eastern Economist Daily" reported. According to Holovatyy, he was to receive the results from his compatriot, Ihor Stelmakh, in Germany. Holovatyy said their meeting could not be arranged due to interference from the SBU, which was trying to find Stelmakh in order to question him as a witness in the Gongadze case. JM

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTORS ARREST CAPTAIN OF SUNKEN SHIP. Ukrainian prosecutors have arrested Leonid Ponomarenko, the captain of the "Pamyat Merkuriya" (Memory of Mercury) ship, and charged him with breaking transport safety laws, Reuters reported. The "Pamyat Merkuriya" sank during a storm in the Black Sea on 26 January. Fourteen people died in the accident and five are still missing, while rescuers plucked 32 survivors from lifeboats and rafts after several days spent floating in the cold water. Volodymyr Rebrov, Crimea's deputy public prosecutor, said initial findings suggest the ship was overloaded. If found guilty, Ponomarenko will face up to 15 years in prison. JM

KYIV PROTESTS SHOOTING OF UKRAINIAN IN POLAND. The Ukrainian Embassy in Poland has sent a note to Poland's Foreign Ministry protesting the killing of a Ukrainian citizen, Serhiy Kudrya, who was shot dead during a highway check near the town of Swidnik on 28 January, Ukrainian and Polish media reported. According to Ukrainian sources, Polish highway patrolmen stopped a Ukrainian couple while they were searching for a hospital to treat the woman, who was pregnant and had fallen ill. The patrolmen reportedly forced the driver out of the vehicle, ordered him to lie on the ground, and shot him in the head. The Ukrainians were returning from the Czech Republic and were driving a Czech-registered vehicle. According to the Polish side, the incident occurred during a scuffle between the Ukrainian driver and policemen, who had pursued the driver when he refused to stop after being flagged-down for allegedly speeding. JM

PUTIN'S TRAVEL SCHEDULE FILLS UP. Kremlin sources told Interfax on 30 January that President Putin will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori sometime this year but that no date has yet been sent. The Russian leader will also go to Ukraine, Armenia twice, and Israel, and will meet with the North Korean leadership at some unspecified place at some as yet unspecified time, Russian agencies said. PG