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RUSSIA TO GIVE UP $170 MILLION BECAUSE OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH UKRAINE? Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov told journalists in Moscow on 10 April that the Russian Federation, because of "strategic considerations," may stop collecting value-added tax on Russian imports of energy resources to Ukraine, UNIAN reported. According to Kasyanov, afte r canceling VAT on Russian gas imports to Ukraine, the Russian budget could lose revenues amounting to some $170 million a year. Kasyanov added, however, that such a move may be viewed "proceeding not from purely economic interests, but from strategic partnership interests and geopolitical interaction" of both countries. "The Russian government can give up this $170 million, and I think that we will be able to survive [without this sum]," Kasyanov said, adding that such a cancellation is possible only if there is "adequate movement on both sides." Earlier the same day, Kasyanov held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Anatoliy Kinakh. Kinakh told journalists that next month Ukraine might adopt a decision on joining the Eurasian Economic Community (curren tly composed of Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan). JM

UKRAINIAN ELECTION AUTHORITY QUESTIONS POLL RESULTS IN TWO CONSTITUENCIES. The Central Election Commission (CEC) on 10 April canceled the decision of district election commission No. 18 (V innytsya Oblast) stating that Svitlana Melnyk (Socialist Party) won the parliamentary election in that constituency, UNIAN reported. The CEC obliged district election commission No. 18 to pass a new decision on the election results after reviewing all complaints regarding the ballot in the constituency. The CEC also annulled the decision of district election commission No. 119 (Lviv Oblast) giving the parliamentary seat to Our Ukraine candidate Oleksandr Hudyma. The CEC's ruling followed a complaint from a candidate from the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc who said the protocols handed by the district commission to election monitors differ from those passed to the CEC. JM

FOR A UNITED UKRAINE CONTINUES TO SWELL. Six lawmakers of the seven elected in single-mandat e constituencies in Cherkasy Oblast (central Ukraine) have declared their intention to join the pro-presidential For a United Ukraine parliamentary caucus, UNIAN reported on 11 April, quoting the Cherkasy Oblast administration spokeswoman. The six reporte dly made up their minds following a meeting with President Leonid Kuchma on 9 April. Meanwhile, lawmaker Oleh Tsaryov from Dnipropetrovsk Oblast has announced that he did not sign any declaration to join For a United Ukraine. Earlier this month, Ukrainian media reported that 16 lawmakers elected in single-mandate constituencies in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, including Tsaryov, signed a statement publicizing their intention to join the pro-presidential bloc (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 March 2002). JM

EU NOTES DE MOCRATIC PROGRESS IN UKRAINIAN ELECTION. The EU said in a statement released on 10 April that Ukraine's 31 March parliamentary election showed progress toward respecting international standards despite "major deficiencies" in the way the poll was conducte d, Reuters reported. The statement expressed hope that Ukraine's newly elected parliament will strengthen democratic reforms in the country. JM

DENMARK CLOSES EMBASSY IN UKRAINE. The Danish Embassy in Ukraine will be closed down on 1 June, UNIAN reported on 10 April. The embassy will stop issuing visas on 15 April. Ukrainians must now apply to the Danish missions in Warsaw or Moscow for Danish visas. The Danish government is closing 10 embassies in different countries in an effort to reduce budget expend itures. JM