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U.S. TO SEND EXPERTS TO UKRAINE TO PROBE KOLCHUGA SUSPICIONS... Washington on 2 October said it will send investigators to Ukraine to probe charges that President Leonid Kuchma flouted UN sanctions by authorizing the sale of a Kolchuga radar system to Iraq, Reuters reported. "We are making preparations to send a team of experts to Ukraine in the near future. We are still working out details of such a visit," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told journalists. "We do welcome Ukraine's offer to make available all information on sales or transfers of the Kolchuga system and grant experts access to all Kolchuga sites and the manufacturing plant as a sign of transparency," Reeker added. JM

...WHILE UKRAINE DEMANDS TAPES ON ALLEGED DEAL WITH IRAQ. Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun on 2 October called on U.S. officials to hand over audio recordings that Washington says indicate that Ukraine might have sold Kolchugas to Iraq with President Kuchma's approval. "We are ready to invite any expert to check [the Kolchuga allegations], but do not treat us like fools -- give us the original [tapes made by Mykola Melnychenko]. They are offering us only edited versions," Reuters quoted Piskun as saying. Piskun said he is sure Ukraine has not sold arms to Iraq. Piskun also cast doubts on Melnychenko's assertion that he secretly taped Kuchma using a tape recorder placed under a sofa in the presidential office. According to Piskun, only much more sensitive equipment could have been used to record conversations across the "huge" presidential office. JM

OUR UKRAINE READY FOR 'RADICAL' STEPS TO ENFORCE POLITICAL DIALOGUE. Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko said on NBM television on 2 October that his bloc will resort to actions of a "radical character" if the authorities fail to launch a dialogue over how to overcome the current political crisis, Interfax reported. According to Yushchenko, following such a dialogue, the power in the country should be transferred to the forces that obtained most support in this year's parliamentary election. "If our initiatives continue to be fended off, we will do everything possible -- including the organization of and participation in actions of a radical character -- to make the Ukrainian authorities sit down at a negotiating table or hold early elections in the country," Yushchenko said. JM