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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY SELLING RADAR SYSTEMS TO IRAQ. The "Ukrayinska pravda" website on 15 April published a report by two journalists from the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity accusing Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma of the sale of "Kolchuga" radar systems worth $100 million to Iraq in contravention of UN sanctions. The journalists claim to have obtained access to a secretly taped conversation between Kuchma and Ukrspetseksport arms-trade company head Valeriy Malev, in which Kuchma reportedly authorized selling such radar systems, shipping them secretly into Iraq, and sending Ukrainian experts to assemble the systems on the spot. The operation was reportedly supervised by former Security Service chief Leonid Derkach. The conversation between Kuchma and Malev was secretly taped by former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko on 10 July 2000. Malev died in an automobile accident last month. According to dpa, last week Melnychenko testified before a grand jury in the U.S. and claimed to have evidence that Kuchma ordered and personally controlled deliveries of "Kolchuga" radars to Iraq. JM

UKRAINE'S PROPORTIONAL ELECTION POLL RESULTS OFFICIALLY RELEASED. The Central Election Commission on 15 April published the official results of the parliamentary election in the poll in which 225 mandates were contested under a proportional party-list system, UNIAN reported. Our Ukraine obtained 23.57 percent of the vote (70 mandates), the Communist Party 19.98 percent (59 mandates), For a United Ukraine 11.77 percent (35 mandates), the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 7.26 percent (22 mandates), the Socialist Party 6.87 percent (20 mandates), and the Social Democratic Party-united 6.27 percent (19 mandates). JM

UKRAINIAN POLICE ARREST EIGHT FOR ATTACK ON SYNAGOGUE. Police have arrested eight young soccer fans from a group of some 50 who on 13 April, following a match of the Kyiv Dynamo team, hurled stones at a synagogue in Kyiv and smashed nine windows, UNIAN reported on 14 April. The agency added that there were no casualties. Meanwhile, Reuters quoted Kyiv's chief rabbi as saying that the attack was an anti-Semitic act sparked by tension in the Middle East. "During evening prayers about 50 young men...came with stones and then shouted 'Kill the Jews!' They broke 20 windows and after prayers they beat our people," the rabbi said. JM