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UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL LAUNCHES CRIMINAL PROBE AGAINST TYMOSHENKO... Prosecutor-General Svatoslav Piskun on 2 August initiated a criminal case against lawmaker Yuliya Tymoshenko, the leader of the eponymous opposition bloc, UNIAN reported. Tymoshenko is accused of embezzling funds while she headed Ukraine's Unified Energy Systems in 1995-97. Other charges include forgery and abuse of office. Deputy Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin told the "Segodnya" newspaper on 5 August that his office will call on the Verkhovna Rada to strip Tymoshenko of her parliamentary immunity if "at the time the parliament reconvenes we have enough reasons" to make such an appeal. A criminal investigation against Tymoshenko was already opened by former Prosecutor-General Mykhaylo Potebenko in 2001, but in April 2002 a court in Kyiv closed all criminal proceedings against her and canceled the ban on her travels outside Kyiv. JM
...WHICH IS SEEN AS ATTEMPT TO DEFUSE PLANNED OPPOSITION PROTEST. Tymoshenko commented on 2 August that Piskun is fulfilling an "order" to remove her from Ukrainian politics. "This is the reaction of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his entourage to my announcement in Lviv of an opposition protest action in September," UNIAN quoted Tymoshenko as saying. Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz also said the opening of the criminal investigation against Tymoshenko was inspired by the president. "It is not accidental that [the Tymoshenko case] surfaced now when the opposition, including Tymoshenko, voices its protest against the current situation and calls on the population to openly hold protest actions," UNIAN quoted Moroz as saying on 3 August. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL AIDE SHRUGS OFF THREAT OF OPPOSITION PROTEST. Presidential administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk told journalists on 2 August that some opposition leaders' recently announced plan to hold a protest action in September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 July 2002) was motivated by their desire to achieve "political dividends," UNIAN reported. "It is likely that some political forces, taking into account their failure during recent political developments, have decided to compensate [this failure] and to call for a revolution," Medvedchuk said. He said that "there will be no revolution," adding that "our Ukrainian society is ready and able to give an adequate answer to those seeking to destabilize the situation in Ukraine." JM
...AS IOM STARTS HELPING SURVIVORS OF ROMANY HOLOCAUST. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has begun to implement projects aimed at helping elderly people, particularly Roma in the Czech Republic and Ukraine who survived Nazi persecution during World War II and have not been compensated for their suffering, CTK reported on 3 August, citing AFP. The survivors are to receive via local humanitarian organizations social and legal assistance, health and home-care help, and in some cases financial assistance as well. MS