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UKRAINIAN PREMIER SAYS CABINET'S POSSIBLE OUSTER TO IMPAIR ECONOMY. Viktor Yushchenko on 12 April said the possible ouster of the current cabinet following a no-confidence vote in the parliament will negatively affect the country's economy, Interfax reported. Asked about the prospects of a possible new cabinet, Yushchenko said: "It is hard to forecast, but I don't see anything good [in such a development] either for economy or social policy, or in terms of the harmonization of political forces [in Ukraine]." Interfax reported that as of 12 April, 238 deputies had signed a motion to hold a no-confidence vote in Yushchenko's cabinet (226 votes are necessary to dismiss it). JM

UKRAINIAN LAWMAKER SAYS COMMUNIST-OLIGARCHIC MAJORITY HAS EMERGED IN PARLIAMENT. Viktor Pynzenyk, leader of the Reforms and Order Party, said a new parliamentary majority of "Communists and oligarchs has already become an obvious fact," Interfax reported on 12 April. Pynzenyk noted that the motion to hold a no-confidence vote in the government was jointly signed by lawmakers from the Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party (United), the Labor Ukraine Party, the Democratic Union, and the Yabluko parliamentary group. At the same time, Pynzenyk added that the fate of Yushchenko's cabinet "does not depend on the parliament but on the president's decision." JM

LIFE OF UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS UNDER THREAT? Oleksandr Skrypnyk, spokesman of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), said the SBU is checking on information that unidentified assailants are plotting attempts on the life of Ukrainian opposition leaders Yuliya Tymoshenko, Taras Chornovil, and Oleksandr Turchynov. The news came through the Internet from the Aleksandr Zhilin Russian Analytical Center, which claims that the alleged killings will be subsequently blamed on President Leonid Kuchma in order to provoke mass antipresidential protests in Ukraine, oust Kuchma, and install Premier Viktor Yushchenko as president and Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz as the head of government. Russian analysts believe that the United States is an "ideological inspirer of Ukrainian extremists" and that the current protests in Ukraine are being financed by Washington. Turchynov and Moroz commented that the news about the planned killings is a provocation. Moroz suggested that it may have originated among Kuchma's "imagemakers." JM

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR SAYS MELNYCHENKO'S TAPES INCLUDE STATE SECRET. Deputy Prosecutor-General Oleksiy Bahanets said on 12 April that recordings made by Mykola Melnychenko, a former presidential bodyguard, include a state secret, Interfax reported. "A part of these recordings includes a state secret, while another part deals with confidential information that cannot be publicized," Bahanets told journalists. It is not clear whether Bahanets' statement is tantamount to an official acknowledgment that the Melnychenko tapes are authentic. Bahanets added that the tapes will now be subjected to a "phonoscopic analysis." The Internet newsletter "Ukrayinska pravda" suggested that experts will now be trying to find whether Melnychenko doctored the tape to include a state secret on it or whether this secret was revealed by Kuchma or one of his interlocutors. JM


STUDENTS WANT KUCHMA TO SWEAR HE'S NOT GUILTY OF JOURNALIST'S DEATH. Some 1,000 students held a rally on 9 April in front of the presidential administration building in Kyiv, demanding that President Leonid Kuchma swear on the constitution that he did not give orders to kill journalist Heorhiy Gongadze or Popular Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil, as well as other politicians and journalists, Interfax reported. Kuchma commented later the same day that he has already sworn on the constitution and is not going to do that again. "That would be a farce, and the president will not participate in a farce," Kuchma added. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 10 April)

'GREEN' JOURNALIST ATTACKED. During the night of 24 March, two unidentified men in Kyiv battered parliamentary assistant Nikolai Rud, editor in chief of "Naturalist" magazine. Rud told the press that the two men waylaid him near a streetcar station, dealt him several blows in the face, knocking out one of his teeth, and snatched his bag containing the registration papers of the newly founded Green Party. (Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, 11 April)

LUGANSK REPORTERS SAY LOCAL OFFICIALS 'PRESSURE' THEM. On 30 March, parliamentarian Valery Kolomoitsov appealed to President Leonid Kuchma asking him to defend the journalists of Lugansk against pressure from its city council. Kolomoitsov wrote that he was trying to "prevent a tragedy similar to the one that happened to journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, because, according to [35] journalists' statements, their lives and those of their families are under threat." Twenty-one of these journalists filed a complaint with the Council of Europe on 21 March. (Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, 11 April)

LVIV REPORTER SENTENCED, COLLEAGUES PROTEST. The Lviv reporter of "Postup" newspaper was detained by militia while covering the events of 9 March. Militia took his documents and cassette recorder; the journalist was later sentenced to 15 days in jail for "hooliganism." Fifty-two Lviv journalists voiced their protest against the unlawful actions of the militia, demanding that their colleague be released and offered public apologies. (Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, 11 April)