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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

KYIV CRITICIZES RUSSIAN OFFICIAL OVER COMMENT ON RUSSIAN LANGUAGE. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Serhiy Dovbeshko told Interfax on 26 September that he is surprised to see that "one country is trying to resolve for another issues that are outside its competence." Dovbeshko was commenting on Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Eleonora Mitrofanova's statement the previous day that Russia's foreign-policy goal is to obtain official status for the Russian language among former Soviet republics. "[Mitrofanova's statements] are not worthy of additional comments because they cannot in any way influence the language policy of Ukraine, which is developing [its policy] on the basis of its own legislation and its international obligations in this sphere," Dovbeshko added. Asked by Ukrainian journalists to comment on Mitrofanova's statement, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin said, "It is difficult for me to say what she had in mind." JM

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTORS ARREST FOUR OVER JOURNALIST'S SLAYING IN 2001. Deputy Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin told journalists on 26 September that police have arrested businessman Oleksandr Rybak and his brother Dmytro Rybak for allegedly contracting the murder of Ihor Aleksandrov, director of TOR television company in Slavyansk in Donetsk Oblast, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( reported. Police also arrested two men who are suspected of carrying out the killing. Shokin said the killing was provoked by Aleksandrov's professional activities but gave no details. Aleksandrov died in hospital in July 2001 after unidentified assailants attacked him in his office with baseball bats (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 2001). JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER SIGNALS CABINET RESHUFFLE. Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yanukovych told journalists on 26 September that there will be changes in his cabinet, Interfax and Reuters reported. "There are really quite serious problems," Reuters quoted Yanukovych as saying. "We are talking about [the] political and managerial efficiency of different members of political groups, about their ability to work in a cabinet team rather than creating their own political image." There are 22 posts in the Ukrainian cabinet: premier, first deputy premier, and finance minister; three deputy premiers; and 17 ministers (including one without portfolio). JM

ROMANIA, UKRAINE MAKE NO PROGRESS IN NEGOTIATIONS OVER SERPENTS ISLAND. No progress was made in the 20th round of negotiations between Romania and Ukraine over the oil-rich continental shelf around the Black Sea's Serpents Island, Romanian Radio reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 September 2003). Foreign Minister State Secretary Cristian Diaconescu said Romania will "in all probability" appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for a ruling in the dispute. MS