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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

SIBERIAN AIRLINES SUES UKRAINE OVER DOWNED AIRCRAFT. On 15 October, lawyers for the Sibir airline that owned the passenger jet accidentally shot down on 4 October by a Ukrainian missile over the Black Sea announced that they have filed an initial $10 million suit against the Ukrainian government, RIA-Novosti reported. The lawyers said that Ukrainian claims of poverty are not convincing, and that attorneys will file more damage suits in the future on behalf of the families of the passengers and crew. VY

TRANSDNIESTER REPRESENTATIVES APPEAL TO DUMA. Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the unrecognized Transdniester Republic have visited the Russian Duma and the Ukrainian parliament in recent days to press their case against the Moldovan central government, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 13 October. The deputies also met with officials in the Kremlin, the Foreign Ministry, and the Moscow city government. PG

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT WANTS ACCOUNTABILITY OVER RUSSIAN PLANE DOWNING. The parliament on 16 October approved a motion to request the Prosecutor-General's Office to institute criminal proceedings against Ukrainian military officials responsible for the 4 October downing of a Russian Tu-154 airliner over the Black Sea with an errant missile, Interfax reported. Deputy Prosecutor-General Oleksandr Atamanyuk told the agency that the Prosecutor-General's Office will consider opening a criminal case on the Tu-154 crash after it obtains an official report from a commission investigating the crash. JM

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SLAMS UKRAINE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. Amnesty International on 15 October said torture and illtreatment of detainees as well as curtailment of the freedom of expression persist in Ukraine 10 years after it declared independence. "Ukraine's real commitment to human rights must be questioned. When formal complaints have been lodged and investigations opened in cases of alleged torture or illtreatment by police officers, they have been slow, frequently lacking in thoroughness, and often inconclusive," Amnesty International said. "Press freedom has also been curtailed through overt forms of harassment and intimidation, whereby journalists have been physically attacked by unknown assailants, sometimes resulting in death. The circumstances surrounding many of these attacks remain unresolved and only occasionally have those responsible been brought to justice," the world's human rights watchdog said. JM

UN MISSION TO RECOMMEND INVESTMENTS IN CHORNOBYL ZONE. Kalman Mizsei, the head of a UN mission working on Chornobyl-related problems, told journalists in Kyiv on 15 October that the mission will recommend that the international community invest in the Chernobyl zone, adding that the site is clean enough for economic development, AP reported. Mizsei said the risk to investments in the Chornobyl area "has significantly decreased" and the radiation-contaminated zone has been reduced to a very small territory. The mission studied the problems of the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around Chornobyl in July-August and will report its final conclusions regarding its development potential to the UN General Assembly and donor countries later in October after visiting radiation-affected areas in Belarus and Russia. According to Mizsei, the world's assistance policy should be shifted from humanitarian aid to concrete economic rehabilitation projects around Chornobyl. JM