©2003 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

With the kind permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, InfoUkes Inc. has been given rights to electronically re-print these articles on our web site. Visit the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service page for more information. Also visit the RFE/RL home page for news stories on other Eastern European and FSU countries.

Return to Main RFE News Page
InfoUkes Home Page

ukraine-related news stories from RFE

MULTINATIONAL MILITARY EXERCISES UNDER WAY IN GEORGIA. A two-week multinational military exercise opened in Georgia on 8 September, "The Georgian Times" and Civil Georgia reported. Georgian Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Miles, and NATO officials opened the Rescuer/Mediceur 2003 NATO Partnership for Peace program exercise at the Vaziani military base outside of Tbilisi. The exercise involves medical training and military search-and-rescue tactical operations for more than 700 troops from Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States. Military planners will form a multinational task force of participating troops to respond to a simulated disaster and seek to improve military interoperability through combined humanitarian and disaster-relief operations. RG

IMF OFFICIAL WARNS BELARUS AGAINST POSSIBLE GAS-PRICE HIKE BY GAZPROM. Thomas Richardson, who headed an IMF mission to Belarus on 1-8 September, told journalists in Minsk on 8 September that a sharp increase in the price of Russian natural gas by Gazprom could have negative effects on Belarus's economy, Belapan reported. Richardson was commenting on Gazprom's recently announced intention to stop selling Belarus natural gas at the subsidized price of $29 for 1,000 cubic meters (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 9 September 2003). Richardson stressed that the impact on Belarus's balance of payments would be very serious if Gazprom raised the price to $80 per 1,000 cubic meters, which is the amount that Poland pays. JM

OUR UKRAINE ACCUSES COMMUNISTS OF SPLITTING OPPOSITION. Yuriy Kostenko, head of the Ukrainian Popular Rukh which is a constituent of Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc, has accused the Communist Party of splitting the opposition by supporting a new political-reform draft proposed by the presidential administration, UNIAN reported on 8 September, quoting the Ukrainian Popular Rukh press service. "By cooperating with the presidential administration in the constitutional-reform issue, the Communist Party is destroying the democratic opposition in Ukraine," Kostenko said. Last week the parliament registered a political-reform draft law that 254 lawmakers from the pro-presidential majority and the Communist Party reportedly support (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 September 2003). In April, Our Ukraine, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc signed a memorandum pledging to pool efforts to implement their own version of political reform in Ukraine (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 15 April 2003). JM

UKRAINE OFFERS ODESA-BRODY PIPELINE TO FOREIGN PARTNERS. Ukrtransnafta has invited authorities and companies in Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan to provide 380,000-420,000 tons of technological oil next month for the Odessa-Brody pipeline, Interfax reported on 8 September, quoting the Ukrtransnafta press service. The purpose of the decision is "to bring the Odesa-Brody pipeline into use immediately after the [Ukrainian] government has chosen the direction for the transport of oil along the pipeline" so as to avert the threat of damage to the pipeline this autumn and winter. Earlier this year, Russia urged Ukraine to use the Odesa-Brody pipeline in the "reverse mode," that is, for pumping Russian oil from Brody to Odesa. Kyiv has not yet made a decision on this issue (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 29 July 2003). JM

UKRAINE, U.S. SIGN MEMORANDUM ON USAID PROGRAM IN 2003. Ukrainian Economy Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovskyy and Christopher Crowley, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Regional Mission for Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, signed an intergovernmental memorandum in Kyiv on 8 September, Interfax reported. The memorandum calls for $150 million to be spent in Ukraine under a USAID program in 2003. Crowley said the money will finance projects implemented jointly with Ukrainian organizations to step up the country's economic development, reforms in the banking sector, and preparations for the accession to the World Trade Organization. JM

ESTONIA, UKRAINE SIGN DEFENSE-COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Estonian Defense Minister Margus Hanson and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yevhen Marchuk, signed an eight-article agreement on defense cooperation between their ministries in Tallinn on 8 September, BNS reported. The cooperation will focus primarily on legal counseling and the exchange of experience in defense-force reform, NATO membership, and international peacekeeping missions. Marchuk said that Ukraine wants to join NATO and is planning to reduce its armed forces and bring their structure into line with NATO standards. Marchuk also met with parliament National Defense Committee Chairman Sven Mikser and President Arnold Ruutel, and visited the Estonian-Ukrainian Society. He is scheduled to travel to Tartu on 9 September to visit the Baltic Defense College. SG

POLISH BISHOPS APPEAL TO ITALIAN PREMIER OVER EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN HERITAGE. Polish bishops have sent a letter to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in which they demand the inclusion of a passage about the Christian heritage of Europe into the text of the European Constitution, Polish Radio reported on 8 September. A draft of the European Constitution, presented in June, is expected to be approved by 13 December, when Brussels hosts an EU summit (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 9 September 2003). JM

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST DEPUTIES PROPOSE DISMANTLING COVASNA COUNTY. A group of nine deputies from the Greater Romanian Party and one Social Democratic Party lawmaker submitted on 8 September a draft law that would dismantle Covasna County, Mediafax reported. The draft also envisages reorganizing Harghita, Alba, Brasov, Mures, and Sibiu counties, to ensure they all have an ethnic Romanian majority. In Covasna and Harghita, Hungarians are currently in the majority. The deputies say their aim is to bring about "concrete measures for a more emphatic Romanian presence" in these Transylvanian counties. They propose that Covasna County be merged with Brasov County, that its name be changed into Giurgeu-Ciuc County, and that the town of Toplita Romana serve as the county's capital. According to the same project, several towns in Mures County are to be transferred to the jurisdiction of Alba County. Deputy Stefan Tcaciuc, who represents in parliament the Ukrainian minority, also backs the project. MS