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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

U.S. SANCTIONS AGAINST UKRAINE OVER CD PIRACY TAKE EFFECT... The previously announced U.S. trade sanctions against Ukraine for its inability to curb compact disc piracy took effect on 23 January. The Ukrainian parliament on 17 January hastily passed a law regulating the production of CDs. UNIAN quoted Kenneth Fairfax, an official from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, as saying that the U.S. authorities received the text of the law on 21 January and are currently analyzing it. Fairfax said the sanctions may be lifted in time if the law satisfies the United States. Fairfax said, however, that the adopted law provides for "insignificant penalties," adding that "they will come as no more than an irritation for those who make millions of dollars annually" from CD piracy, STB Television reported. Under the sanctions, the U.S. will apply higher duties on $75 million worth of metals, shoes, and other goods exported from Ukraine. JM

...WHILE KUCHMA DECRIES THEM AS 'PRESSURE.' Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told journalists on 22 January that he is inclined to sign the recently passed bill on the production of CDs in Ukraine, Interfax reported. At the same time he said that "no country in the world has the kind of law the U.S. is demanding from us." And he added: "So what is it? Cooperation or simply pressure? I regard this as pressure." JM

BLOC LEADER SAYS UKRAINE TO HAVE NEW POLITICAL 'STRUCTURE' AFTER ELECTION. Presidential administration head Volodymyr Lytvyn, who leads the For a United Ukraine election bloc, said in Lviv on 22 January that the upcoming parliamentary election should give rise to "a new structure of the political system" in the country, Interfax reported. Lytvyn added that Ukraine has not yet developed "a civilized party system." In his opinion, out of the 124 parties registered in Ukraine only 11 may claim to have a countrywide character. JM

UKRAINE'S TYMOSHENKO, MEDVEDCHUK TO SPAR ON RFE/RL. Two fierce political opponents, Fatherland Party leader Yuliya Tymoshenko and Social Democratic Party (United) leader Viktor Medvedchuk, will hold a live debate in an evening program of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service on 23 January. JM