©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

OFFICIAL SAYS RUSSIA SHOULD PLAY LEADING ANTITERRORISM ROLE IN THE CIS. Writing in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 15 September, First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov said that Russia is playing a decisive role in combating organized crime and terrorism throughout the CIS, acting through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other regional structures. Trubnikov criticized the United States and its partners among the former Soviet republics for "wasting the international community's resources in the struggle against terrorism." In particular, Trubnikov, who is also a former director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), expressed skepticism about the need for a U.S. initiative to create a regional antiterrorism center under GUUAM (whose members are Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova). He also criticized the expanded U.S. military presence in Central Asia, although Russia gave its consent to such expansion in 2001. Trubnikov said that this presence can only be a stabilizing factor in the region if it is strictly tied to the timetable and the goals of the antiterrorism operation in Afghanistan, Trubnikov wrote. VY

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT ENDS VISIT TO GEORGIA. Rolandas Paksas paid a three-day visit to Georgia on 11-13 September, meeting with President Shevardnadze and parliament speaker Nino Burdjanadze, Caucasus Press reported. During talks on 11 September, the two presidents discussed the prospects for Georgia's integration into Euro-Atlantic bodies. Paksas said Lithuania is ready to share with Georgia its experience in joining NATO and the EU. They also pledged to expand economic cooperation and trade. On 15 September, Caucasus Press quoted an unnamed state chancellery official as saying that Tbilisi is interested in creating a road and rail corridor via Ukraine to Lithuania that would give Georgia access to Scandinavia without transiting Russia. LF

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ENDORSES ACCORD ON CIS COMMON ECONOMIC ZONE AS 'BASIS FOR TALKS.' President Alyaksandr Lukashenka decreed on 12 September that the draft agreement on the formation of a common economic zone by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine worked out earlier this year (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 2 September 2003) should serve as a "basis for talks," Belapan reported. The draft agreement has reportedly provoked serious controversies within the Ukrainian government (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 September 2003). JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ALLAYS FEARS OVER CIS COMMON ECONOMIC AREA... Leonid Kuchma said in Luhansk on 12 September that the draft agreement on the formation of a common economic zone by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine worked out earlier this year provides that every signatory to the agreement may independently adopt resolutions regarding the "format" of its integration with the others, Interfax reported. Kuchma's words seemed to address the fears shared by some Ukrainian lawmakers and cabinet members that the agreement, if signed, could deprive Ukraine of some of its sovereignty and hamper Kyiv's integration with the EU and NATO (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 and 12 September 2003). JM

...AND SAYS NEARLY 300 LAWMAKERS SUPPORT CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. President Kuchma also said in Luhansk on 12 September that 292 lawmakers now back the constitutional-reform draft that was recently submitted to parliament (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 September 2003), Interfax reported. Constitutional amendments in Ukraine need 300 votes in the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada for approval. JM

LEADING NAZI HUNTER MAKES OFFER IN ROMANIA. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, offered in Bucharest on 12 September a $10,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the prosecution of war criminals, Reuters and AFP reported. Zuroff has headed a similar "Operation Last Chance" in the Baltic states and Ukraine, which exposed 241 suspected war criminals and sent 55 of them to prosecutors. Zuroff said "Romania was a satellite state of Nazi Germany and actively participated in the implementation of the Final Solution." Yet, "not a single Holocaust perpetrator has been investigated, let alone prosecuted in postcommunist Romania," according to AFP. Reuters cited him as asking: "Does Romanian society, Romanian leadership have the courage to bring these people to justice? This is what we hope will happen." MS

...WHILE RUSSIA SIGNALS OPPOSITION. Addressing the same forum in Chisinau on frozen conflicts, Alexander Grushko, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department of European cooperation, said on 12 September his country will "seriously consider" the Voronin's proposal. He added, however, that participants already involved in the negotiations should be in agreement about any new parties that join the talks, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Grushko also said the EU can contribute to the region's economic rehabilitation, but not to the political process, which is already underway and whose current five-side format -- Chisinau, Tiraspol, Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE -- has achieved substantial progress that will hopefully soon lead to success. Grushko said it is "premature" at this point to debate the participation of EU peacekeepers in the post-settlement peacekeeping forces. He said that process would "certainly require military guarantees" but it is too early now to engage in talks on whether the "current peacekeeping forces" -- meaning the 1,500 Russian troops stationed in Transdniester -- should "change their character." MS