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UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS DISRUPT PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE OF LAND CODE. Parliamentary speaker Ivan Plyushch on 18 October was forced to close a parliamentary sitting earlier than planned after Communist deputies blocked the parliamentary rostrum and began singing the Internationale, STB television reported. The parliamentary agenda provided for discussion of a Land Code in the second reading, but the Communist caucus objected to that, saying that the code has not yet been approved in the first reading, Interfax reported. According to STB Television, the conflict started around a clause allowing land sales, which are opposed by the Communist Party. JM

UKRAINE REPORTS SOME 30,000 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DETAINED ANNUALLY. Ukraine's police and Border Troops on 18 October reported that the number of illegal immigrants detained annually in the country is 25,000-30,000, Ukrainian Television reported. The previous day, police, the Border Troops, and the customs service launched a joint operation in a bid to stem the flow of illegal immigrants transiting the country. According to the network, the task is extremely difficult, as Ukraine has no accords with bordering countries on mutual extradition of illegal migrants. Moreover, the police do not know what to do with illegal immigrants after they have been detained for 10 days; according to current legislation, they must be released after that time. JM

UKRAINIAN ROAD POLICE OFFICERS TO BE SACKED FOR SMUGGLING ILLEGAL ALIENS. The Interior Ministry is going to dismiss several regional heads of the traffic police and 20 of their subordinates for assisting illegal immigrants trying to enter the country, New Channel television reported on 18 October. In a recent operation, policemen dressed like immigrants traveled across Ukraine and offered bribes to road police for information about the safest way of reaching the country's western border. A total of 20 road police were caught redhanded accepting bribes from fake immigrants. The interior minister ordered the firing of the bribe-takers as well as the heads of the road police in the regions where the bribes were accepted. JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN MOLDOVA. Visiting Ukrainian Premier Anatoliy Kinakh said on 18 October after talks with President Vladimir Voronin that his country backs Moldovan efforts to increase border security, and eliminate illegal immigration and illicit trafficking of arms and drugs. Kinakh was evasive in answering a question on whether Ukraine will allow the setting up on its territory of joint border checks with Moldova, saying that the matter "depends on international regulations, on democratic principles and on coordination between the sides," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Voronin, speaking before Kinakh, claimed that a "full understanding" has been reached on all issues discussed and that "proceedings are now being examined to make possible joint custom checks at the border." Kinakh also met with Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev and described their discussions as "constructive and fruitful." MS