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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS ACCUSED OF DISCREDITING ELECTION FRONTRUNNER. The "Ukrayinska pravda" website on 25 March accused the election staff of the Social Democratic Party-united (SDPU-o) led by Viktor Medvedchuk of implementing a plan to discredit Viktor Yushchenko, whose Our Ukraine bloc is tipped by opinion polls to win the 31 March parliamentary ballot. To support its accusation, "Ukrayinska pravda" quoted alleged instructions by the SDPU-o election staff regarding the presentation of Yushchenko and Our Ukraine on the private 1+1 and Inter television channels, which are controlled by the SDPU-o. By comparing programs on both channels and the quoted instructions, "Ukrayinska pravda" concluded that the plan for discrediting Yushchenko has actually been implemented. JM

ANTI-AMERICAN FRONT OF UKRAINE COMES INTO BEING. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) on 26 March gathered 65 delegates from western Ukraine (Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Ternopil, Chernivtsi, and Volyn oblasts) and Kyiv to launch an organization named the Anti-American Front of Ukraine, UNIAN reported. According to the agency, the main goal of the new organization is to counteract "the U.S. expansion into Ukraine," and to prevent "the transformation of Ukraine into an American ghetto." The delegates elected Vitaliy Tsapovych, the editor in chief of the OUN press organ "Neskorena Natsiya," as the head of the Anti-American Front of Ukraine. JM

MAYOR DENIES DECISION TO REHABILITATE UKRAINIAN SS DIVISION. Ivano-Frankivsk City Mayor Zinoviy Shkutyak told journalists on 26 March that the City Council has not approved a controversial resolution declaring veterans of the SS Halychyna Division to be freedom fighters (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19, 21, and 25 March 2002), UNIAN reported. Shkutyak said the City Council only debated this issue among miscellaneous issues on its agenda. According to Shkutyak, the responses to the "nonexistent resolution" are nothing but "an attempt by certain political forces to influence the election process in Ukraine." He believes that all protests against "nonexistent things" are "provocations aimed at decreasing the popularity of the Our Ukraine election bloc -- primarily among voters living in the eastern regions of our country." JM

...AS SPAIN SEES LITTLE ROOM FOR BARGAINING ON FARM AID. Spanish Agricultural Minister Miguel Arias Canete said in Warsaw on 26 March that the EU is unable to significantly increase the level of the farming subsidies to EU new members proposed at the end of January (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 19 February 2002). "As in any negotiations, there will be a certain margin allowing for changes, although this margin is extremely narrow because we all are limited by financial restrictions that set the level of spending until the year 2006," AP quoted Canete as saying after his meeting with Polish Agricultural Minister Jaroslaw Kalinowski. Spain, which holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of June, is in charge of brokering a common EU position for formal negotiations with Poland and other EU candidates on agriculture. JM