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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

ANOTHER RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT SLIPS AWAY. Igor Dereichuk, an ethnic Ukrainian who went missing on 27 February from his post as an attache at the Russian Embassy in Panama, has since informed his family that he is alive and well but indicated that he does not intend to work for the Russian Foreign Ministry in the future. PG

UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS TO OUST GOVERNMENT UNLESS IT RESTORES SOCIALISM. Four Communist lawmakers on 15 March met with Premier Viktor Yushchenko and handed him a list of 17 demands, Interfax reported. In particular, the Communist Party wants the government to switch to a socialist economy, nationalize banks, introduce a planned economy for state enterprises, give official status to the Russian language, and break all relations with NATO. Lawmaker Oleksandr Bondarchuk commented after the meeting that "each side has remained on its own position." Bondarchuk said the Communists will vote to dismiss the cabinet in a possible no-confidence vote following Yushchenko's report to the parliament on 10 April. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko told a Communist rally the same day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 March 2001) that the party "will arouse the people of Ukraine and do away with this regime in a week" if it fails to resign voluntarily. JM

UKRAINE MUST PASS BILLS TO GET IMF MONEY. First Deputy Premier Yuriy Yekhanurov on 15 March said the IMF will resume its loan program with Ukraine if the parliament passes a bill on reducing the sunflower seed import duty from 23 percent to 10 percent and a bill on budget debt restructuring in line with proposals from President Leonid Kuchma, Interfax reported. Yekhanurov was commenting on his recent talks with the IMF in Washington. According to "Eastern Economist Daily," Yekhanurov also complained that IMF officials are influenced by politics in making decisions despite their assurances that they are not. JM

POLISH PRESIDENT URGES KUCHMA NOT TO USE FORCE AGAINST PROTESTERS. Aleksander Kwasniewski told his visiting Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma in Kazimerz Dolny on 15 March that he should use not force, but dialogue, for resolving the current political unrest at home, PAP reported. Kuchma responded that he is ready for dialogue with the opposition, but only within the framework of the law and the constitution. Kuchma added: "When the so-called opposition wants to dictate the resignation of a president...protesting with sharp metal objects and Molotov cocktails in their hands -- how can we talk to such groups?" Polish Television reported that the Ukrainian president said he will not talk to "fascists" who provoke social disorder in Ukraine. JM