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UKRAINE, RUSSIA SIGN ACCORD ON COMPLETING REACTORS TO REPLACE CHORNOBYL. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed an accord in Kharkiv on 14 December on Russia's assistance in completing two reactors at the Khmelnytskyy and Rivne nuclear power plants to make up for the power output lost through the closure of Chernobyl, Ukrainian media reported. The amount Russia will provide for assistance to the project has not been made known. Last month, Kuchma announced that Kyiv is dissatisfied with a loan offer from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). On 15 December, Kuchma said Ukraine still expects Western countries to provide the promised assistance, and will continue its talks with the EBRD. He said Russia should participate in these talks. "The reactors are of the Russian design, and nobody would dare exclude Russia," AP quoted Kuchma as saying. JM

UKRAINIAN DEPUTY PREMIER TOUTS BREAKTHROUGH IN TRADE WITH RUSSIA. First Deputy Prime Minister Oleh Dubyna has announced that the Ukrainian-Russian business forum in Kharkiv on 14-15 December was a breakthrough in Ukrainian-Russian trade relations, Ukrainian Television reported on 16 December. Dubyna said Russia is interested in supplies of Ukrainian turbines for a nuclear power plant, tractors, as well as oil- and gas-drilling installations. He added that in Kharkiv, Ukrainian and Russian representatives of the agro-industrial complex and sugar producers signed many agreements on cooperation. JM

FIVE UKRAINIAN PARTIES FORMALIZE PRO-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BLOC. On 15 December in Kyiv, the leaders of five Ukrainian parties -- Agrarian Party (Mykhaylo Hladiy), Labor Ukraine (Serhiy Tyhypko), Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Anatoliy Kinakh), Popular Democratic Party (Valeriy Pustovoytenko), and Party of Regions (Volodymyr Seminozhenko) -- signed a formal agreement on the creation of a "For a United Ukraine" parliamentary election bloc, Interfax reported. The creation of the bloc was announced in early October, while last month it became known that the bloc will be led by presidential administration chief Volodymyr Lytvyn. Lytvyn commented after the signing ceremony that For a United Ukraine is "doomed to win in the upcoming election," adding that the bloc's participants are not seeking "to win power for the sake of power, since they are already in power." JM

POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER SURVIVES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Sejm on 14 December voted by 236 to 130, with 44 abstentions, to reject a motion of no-confidence in Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Polish media reported. The motion was opposed by deputies from the Democratic Left Alliance-Peasant Party ruling coalition and supported by those from the League of Polish Families, Law and Justice, Self-Defense caucuses, and the Conservative Peasant Party group. Lawmakers from the Civic Platform mostly abstained from the vote. The motion was lodged by right-wing lawmakers who were outraged by Cimoszewicz's announcement of concessions in EU talks in Brussels last month (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 27 November 2001). JM