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INTERCEPTED ARMAMENTS DELIVERED TO GEORGIA. A consignment of six howitzers, spare parts, and ammunition was to be flown to Tbilisi on 5 May, a Georgian Defense Ministry official told Caucasus Press that day. The Ukrainian aircraft transporting the armaments, which the Georgian military had purchased from the Czech Republic, was intercepted in Burgas in late April and found to be carrying 30 tons of weaponry that the crew said was destined for Eritrea (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 3 May 2001). Tbilisi denied any knowledge of those arms. LF

POPULAR RUKH OF UKRAINE RE-ELECTS UDOVENKO AS LEADER. The Popular Rukh of Ukraine held a congress in Kyiv on 5-6 May, at which delegates re-elected Hennadiy Udovenko as the party's leader, adopted the party's new statute and program, and decided to form an electoral bloc with the Reform and Order Party and the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, Interfax reported. Tensions within the party appeared after the re-election of Udovenko, who defeated Mykhaylo Kosiv. Kosiv refused to join Rukh's leadership, while Taras Chornovil, son of Rukh former leader Vyacheslav Chornovil, announced that he may quit the Popular Rukh of Ukraine and join the Reform and Order Party. Rukh -- an influential, moderately nationalist movement in Ukraine in the early 1990s -- has since split into Hennadiy Udovenko's and Yuriy Kostenko's factions and given rise to a third group, the Popular Rukh of Ukraine for Unity, led by Bohdan Boyko. JM

UKRAINE TO REQUIRE FOREIGN PASSPORTS FROM CIS VISITORS, EXCEPT FOR RUSSIANS, BELARUSIANS. The government on 6 May decided that citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will be able to travel to Ukraine only with their foreign-travel passports, instead of the domestic passports that had been accepted until now, Interfax reported. The CIS citizens will still not need visas to enter Ukraine. Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko elaborated on the new regulation later the same day by saying that it does not apply to Russians and Belarusians, since Kyiv has accords with Moscow and Minsk allowing their citizens to travel with any documents that confirm their identity and citizenship. JM

METHANE BLAST KILLS EIGHT UKRAINIAN MINERS. A methane explosion on 5 May killed eight miners at the Kirov coal mine in Makyivka, Donetsk Oblast, Interfax reported. Of the 151 miners working underground at the time, 141 were brought safely to surface, while two are missing. Ukraine's mines are among the world's most dangerous; 306 people died in mining accidents last year in the country. JM

'SERIOUS ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION' IN EUROPEAN MEDIA. At a 24 April session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a major report was made by Hungarian Deputy Gyula Hegyi of the PACE Committee on Culture, Science, and Education, which expressed concern over the fact that in four PACE member-states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, Romania, and Ukraine) journalists can still be sent to prison under existing laws for expression of opinion. ("Yerevan Press Club Newsletter," 21-24 April)

CPJ NAMES TEN ENEMIES OF THE PRESS ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on 3 May named the Ten Worst Enemies of the Press for 2001, focusing attention on individual leaders who are responsible for the world's worst abuses against the media. President Vladimir Putin of Russia debuted on the list, while Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma was put back on the CPJ list (he last appeared in 1999). (Committee to Protect Journalists Press Release, 3 May)


UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT GREETS JOURNALISTS ON PRESS FREEDOM DAY... President Leonid Kuchma sent greetings to Ukrainian journalists on World Press Freedom Day, Interfax reported on 3 May, quoting the presidential press service. Kuchma said in his message that "for Ukraine, where the building of democratic society values is under way, press freedom is of special importance." Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a U.S.-based human rights group, included Kuchma in its annual list of top "Enemies of the Press." The CPJ accused Kuchma of increasing the "habitual censorship of opposition newspapers," as well as attacks and threats against independent journalists. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 4 May)

PRO-RUSSIAN MEDIA MAGNATE? "The Baltimore Sun" reports that Viktor Pinchuk, "a suave member of parliament who controls a television and industrial empire and is the common-law husband of [Ukrainian President Leonid] Kuchma's daughter," reportedly claims that Western organizations are following an anti-Ukrainian plan, although he offered no proof. The Ukrainian media, almost totally run by the government or by media magnates such as Victor Pinchuk "has been vilifying the United States recently where once America could hardly do any wrong, " reports the paper. ("Baltimore Sun," 29 April)