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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CONDEMNS U.S. RESOLUTION ON ELECTION... President Leonid Kuchma has termed as "unprecedented" the 20 March resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives urging the government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent, and fair parliamentary election on 31 March, Interfax reported on 22 March. "Are we a nation, or are we a football playing field for strategic partners?" Kuchma asked indignantly. The U.S. resolution was also slammed as a "populist" move and "gross interference" in Ukraine's domestic affairs by Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko. "The U.S. has not proven in any region that it wanted democratic elections to be conducted there. It cynically interfered in the Yugoslav election; it tried to interfere in the election in neighboring Belarus," Interfax quoted Symonenko as saying. JM

...PLEDGES TO INTRODUCE ORDER IN CRIMEA... "We will introduce order in Crimea, let them not frighten us," Kuchma said on 22 March while commenting on the situation in the autonomous republic. The current Crimean Supreme Council failed on 22 March to gather for a session for the third consecutive day, thus missing the last chance to adopt Crimea's 2002 budget. JM

...AND APPOINTS NEW PRESS SECRETARY. President Kuchma has appointed 26-year-old Alyona Hromnitska as his spokeswoman, Ukrainian media reported on 22 March. Since 1999, Hromnitska has worked with the private ICTV Television where she was responsible for reporting on the activities of the presidential administration. JM

OUR UKRAINE LEADER ACCUSES AUTHORITIES OF SPLITTING SOCIETY. Our Ukraine election bloc leader Viktor Yushchenko said on 22 March that the current authorities are working toward splitting society in Ukraine, the Our Ukraine press service reported. According to Yushchenko, the authorities "have paralyzed the election procedures" and are hindering Our Ukraine's campaign and repressing its supporters. Meanwhile, Yuriy Kostenko -- the leader of the Ukrainian Popular Rukh, which is a constituent of the Our Ukraine election bloc -- said the same day that Our Ukraine is counting on 120-140 mandates in the new parliament. JM

NEARLY 1,000 INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS TO WATCH UKRAINIAN ELECTION. The Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered 944 international observers to monitor the 31 March presidential election, UNIAN reported on 23 March, quoting CEC Chairman Mykhaylo Ryabets. Ryabets added that it is the highest number of international election monitors in Ukraine's 10-year history of independence. JM

DECISION ON UKRAINIAN SS DIVISION VETERANS SPARKS MORE PROTESTS. Leaders of Ukraine's Jewish community have asked the Supreme Court to cancel the decision by the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council to give the status of World War II veterans to former members of the SS Halychyna Division (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 and 21 March 2002), ITAR-TASS reported on 23 March, quoting All-Ukraine Jewish Congress President Vadym Rabynovych. "This is an outrageous decision and a crime against the Ukrainian and Jewish people," Rabynovych said. Moreover, lawmaker Andriy Derkach has asked Prosecutor-General Mikhail Potebenko to provide a legal assessment of the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council's decision. Derkach said the decision is absolutely illegal. He recalled that the Nuremberg Tribunal outlawed the SS, adding that the ruling is an inseparable part of the modern system of international legal relations. JM