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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

EU CALLS ON LUKASHENKA TO REVOKE DECREE ON FOREIGN AID. The EU has called on President Lukashenka to withdraw his decree of 12 March introducing stiff controls on foreign gratuitous aid to Belarus (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 20 March 2001), RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 28 March. The EU notes that the decree seeks to impose "far-reaching restrictions" on foreign assistance to Belarus "in the field of democratization, human rights, and humanitarian aid." The EU warns that the decree may result in deepening Belarus's "self-imposed isolation." Meanwhile, Hans-Georg Wieck, head of the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Minsk, has notified all 55 member countries of the OSCE about possible negative consequences of the decree, saying it may impair the preparation of election monitors in Belarus by the OSCE. JM

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTORS WANT TYMOSHENKO BACK IN JAIL... The Prosecutor-General's Office has appealed against the ruling of a Kyiv district court releasing former Deputy Premier Yuliya Tymoshenko from jail (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 March 2001), Interfax reported on 28 March. Tymoshenko is now recovering in a Kyiv clinic after spending six weeks in solitary confinement. Petro Yakobchuk, spokesman for Tymoshenko's Fatherland Party, told Reuters that she is suffering from a stomach ulcer. JM

...WHILE DEPUTY PREMIER SAYS TYMOSHENKO'S RELEASE WILL REDUCE TENSION. First Deputy Premier Yuriy Yekhanurov commented on 28 March that the release of Yuliya Tymoshenko from jail will reduce political tension in the country. According to Yekhanurov, some political forces in Ukraine took advantage of Tymoshenko's imprisonment. The same day, First Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Viktor Medvedchuk told the German ambassador to Kyiv that the political situation in Ukraine has begun to normalize following "four months of a political scandal." Medvedchuk assured the ambassador that the parliamentary pro-government majority "exists and is working vigorously." JM

RUSSIA SEEN NEEDING ONE MILLION IMMIGRANTS A YEAR. Zhanna Zyonchkovskaya, the head of the laboratory for the analysis and prediction of migration of the Institute of Economic Forecasting, said in an interview published in "Segodnya" on 28 March that Russia will need to attract more than a million immigrants a year in order to forestall economic decline. She said that ethnic Russians in the former Soviet republics are neither numerous enough nor willing to return. In 1991, she said, there were 22.5 million Russians living in these states, of whom 3.5 million have now returned. But most of those still abroad live in Ukraine "and our investigations show that Russians will not come from there." She said that Kazakhstan is also unlikely to be a good source and suggested that Russia will likely have to look to China for such influxes of population. PG