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SPS PERSUADES UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADER TO DROP DEMAND FOR KUCHMA'S RESIGNATION. Speaking to reporters after a 22 October meeting in Moscow with Viktor Yushchenko, head of the Our Ukraine opposition bloc, Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) leaders Boris Nemtsov and Irina Khakamada said they have convinced Yushchenko to drop his call for Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's resignation, reported. Nemtsov also said that Yushchenko was invited to Moscow by SPS in order to strengthen his ties with the Kremlin. Yushchenko has agreed to open an Our Ukraine office in Moscow as part of an effort to dispel his image as a "pro-American" politician. VY

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL FAILS TO HALT CASE AGAINST KUCHMA... The Supreme Court on 22 October rejected an appeal by Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun to rule the criminal case initiated against President Leonid Kuchma earlier this month illegal, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. On 15 October, Kyiv Court of Appeals Judge Yuriy Vasylenko opened the case against Kuchma in which the president is charged with violating 11 articles of the Criminal Code, including his alleged involvement in the illegal sale of military technology to Iraq and the murder of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 October 2002). Piskun argued that the constitution grants Kuchma prosecutorial immunity, but the Supreme Court sent his appeal to the Court of Appeals, which is expected to proceed with the case. JM

...AND CLAIMS TO HAVE CONVINCED U.S. OFFICIALS THAT UKRAINE DIDN'T SELL KOLCHUGA RADAR SYSTEMS TO IRAQ. "I feel I have managed to convince American experts and lawyers that Ukraine didn't sell Kolchugas to Iraq," Piskun told journalists on 22 October, referring to his trip to Washington last week. Piskun also announced that a group of U.S. experts is to come to Kyiv "soon" to consult Ukrainian officials investigating Gongadze's killing. Moreover, Piskun said Ukraine has proposed to the United States that a group of German and Russian experts, with the participation of specialists from the United States and Ukraine, examine the authenticity of audio recordings allegedly made by former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko in Kuchma's office. JM

MORE THAN 100,000 UKRAINIAN CHILDREN SAID TO BE HOMELESS. Valentyna Shevchenko, chairwoman of the State Committee for Family and Youth Matters, said on 22 October that there are more than 100,000 homeless children in Ukraine, UNIAN reported. Shevchenko noted that nearly 20 percent of these children have lost both of their parents. She also said there are nearly 70,000 families in Ukraine that are poorly provided for. "We need to work with such families, since most homeless children and child beggars come from families that are socially dysfunctional, have many children, or have lost at least one parent," Shevchenko said. JM

LITHUANIA DEEMED 'MOST DEPENDENT' ON NUCLEAR POWER. The International Atomic Energy Agency (TATENA) released a report on 22 October that put Lithuania's share of nuclear-generated electricity at 77.6 percent of the total 2001 national output, BNS reported. Nuclear plants produced 11.36 billion of the country's total, 14.64 billion kilowatt hours, the study found. Lithuania was followed by France (77.1 percent), Belgium (58 percent), Slovakia (53.4 percent), Ukraine (46.4 percent), Sweden (43.9 percent), Bulgaria (41.5 percent), South Korea (39.3 percent), Hungary (39.1 percent), and Slovenia (39 percent). At the end of 2001, there were 438 nuclear power plants worldwide generating 16.2 percent of total electricity. In 2000, France was the leader with a 76.4 percent share and Lithuania second at 73.7 percent. SG

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VISITS MACEDONIA. Leonid Kuchma arrived in Skopje on 22 October for a two-day official visit, MIA news agency reported. Kuchma met with President Boris Trajkovski, parliamentary speaker Nikola Popovski, and outgoing Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski. Kuchma's talks focused on future economic relations. At a joint press conference, Kuchma and Trajkovski said relations are good -- as was evident during the conflict in Macedonia in 2001, when Ukraine supported the Macedonian Army with helicopter gunships, fighter jets, and pilots. Kuchma stressed that both countries were in constant touch with NATO regarding their military cooperation during that conflict. UB