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UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADER CONTINUES TO OPPOSE APPOINTMENT OF CENTRAL-BANK CHIEF... Yuliya Tymoshenko, the leader of the eponymous opposition bloc, told journalists on 8 December that her group wants parliament to reconsider the appointment of Serhiy Tyhypko as head of the Ukrainian National Bank, UNIAN reported. According to the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, Tyhypko's appointment by only a portion of the Verkhovna Rada on 17 December was illegal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 December 2002). Opposition lawmakers subsequently tried to contest Tyhypko's appointment in court, but their suit was rejected. AM

...APPEALS SENTENCES ON ANTI-KUCHMA PROTESTERS. Tymoshenko also said her bloc has appealed to a Kyiv appellate court over sentences handed down against members of the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-Defense, UNIAN reported. The 14 people were given prison terms of between two and five years for participating in antipresidential riots in Kyiv in March 2001 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 December 2002). Tymoshenko said the sentences were politically motivated. AM

UKRAINE REPORTEDLY REQUESTS POLISH HELP TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH U.S.. Ukraine has turned to Poland for help soothing tense relations with the United States, PAP reported on 8 January, quoting an anonymous source "close to the Foreign Ministry." Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski will reportedly take up the task during his visit to the United States on 12-14 January, the source said. "I think it will be possible to resolve this matter, and the Americans will shortly forget about the Kolchugas [radar systems that Washington alleges Ukraine sold to Iraq despite an international ban]. This does not mean, of course, that we will arrange [Ukrainian President Leonid] Kuchma's visit to the U.S. or [George W.] Bush's visit to Kyiv," a senior Polish diplomat told PAP. AM

POLISH, UKRAINIAN PREMIERS CONFIRM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP. The prime ministers of Poland and Ukraine, Leszek Miller and Viktor Yanukovych, confirmed in Warsaw on 8 January that relations between the two countries signify a strategic partnership, PAP reported. During a one-day visit to Poland, Yanukovych also met with President Kwasniewski and the speakers of the Sejm and Senate. The premiers discussed the visa regime that Poland will introduce on 1 July for its eastern neighbors. Miller said visas will be inexpensive, multiple-use, and easily available. Miller told Yanukovych that Poland is still interested in building the Odesa-Brody-Gdansk oil pipeline on a commercial basis. AM