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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REMAINS WITHOUT LEADERSHIP. The Verkhovna Rada on 17 May adjourned the ongoing session until 21 May without having elected a speaker and two deputy speakers, UNIAN reported. The Communist Party wants the speaker to be from its ranks, while United Ukraine has announced that it will support only a "leadership package" in which United Ukraine leader Volodymyr Lytvyn is proposed for the post of parliamentary leader. According to the "Ukrayinska pravda" website, Our Ukraine led by Viktor Yushchenko is ready to support any candidacy for speaker provided that other caucuses will agree to endorse Our Ukraine's "extended package" that envisions "radical changes of the power structure at all levels." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS CABINET FOR POOR CHORNOBYL FUNDING. President Leonid Kuchma on 16 May criticized cabinet members for allocating insufficient funds for Chornobyl-related expenses in this year's budget, UNIAN reported. According to Kuchma, the 2002 budget provides for 220 million hryvni ($41 million) to be spent on the maintenance of facilities of the closed Chornobyl plant, which covers only some 60 percent of actual needs. Kuchma also criticized the way international funds have been spent, saying that donor governments have claimed that Ukraine does not fulfill its obligations to fund Chornobyl problems appropriately. JM

POLISH PRESIDENT TO REFUSE TO ATTEND CEMETERY OPENING IN LVIV. President Aleksander Kwasniewski has announced that he will not travel to Lviv on 21 May for the planned ceremonial opening of the renovated Polish military cemetery (Lviv Eaglets Cemetery), PAP reported on 17 May. Kwasniewski said the conditions for conducting the opening in a "dignified manner" do not exist. The preceding day, deputies of the Lviv City Council rejected Polish proposals regarding the main inscription at the cemetery and the reconstruction of monuments to U.S. and French soldiers who fought on the Polish side in the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1920. The Polish side proposed the inscription reading "To unknown soldiers who heroically fell for Poland in 1918-20," while the Lviv councilors excluded the word "heroically" from the phrase. The Lviv City Council also did not agree to the installation of the monuments to U.S. and French soldiers. JM