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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINE WANTS TO DEVELOP SATELLITE SYSTEM WITH TURKMENISTAN. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstyantyn Hryshchenko, on an official visit to Ashgabat, told his Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov on 5 November that Ukraine would like to work with Turkmenistan on developing a satellite-communications and radio-broadcasting system, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Meredov replied that Ashgabat is interested in involving Ukrainian firms in large-scale projects in Turkmenistan. Ukraine is already involved in various natural-gas projects in Turkmenistan as partial payment for annual gas supplies to Turkmenistan. BB

KYIV, MOSCOW HOLD TALKS ON SEA BORDER. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Kalyuzhnyi met with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksandr Motsyk in Kyiv on 5 November to discuss the contentious issue of the border delimitation in the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea, Interfax reported. They agreed that government-level talks on the issue will be held every month. Motsyk told journalists that the Ukrainian side presented the Russian one with a package of documents confirming that the Tuzla Island in the Kerch Strait belongs to Ukraine. "We have some documents saying that this [island] belonged to Russia or Krasnodar [Krai]," Kalyuzhnyi responded, promising to pass them to Kyiv so that during the next meeting, scheduled for 5 December, "both sides will have something to speak about." JM

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION AGAIN DISRUPTS PARLIAMENTARY SESSION OVER DONETSK EVENTS. Lawmakers from Our Ukraine, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, and the Socialist Party blocked the parliamentary rostrum and brought a Verkhovna Rada session to a halt for the second consecutive day on 6 November, Interfax reported. The opposition protest followed an unsuccessful attempt to support a motion to hear government officials report on the foiled Our Ukraine congress in Donetsk on 31 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 November 2003). The motion was supported by 219 votes, seven short of the number required for approval. President Leonid Kuchma has reportedly ordered that Interior Minister Mykola Bilokon and Ukrainian Security Service chief Ihor Smeshko check whether law and order was observed during Our Ukraine's recent gatherings in Donetsk, Lviv, and Kherson. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT URGES POLITICAL REFORM. Speaking at a forum of business representatives from Ukraine and Serbia and Montenegro in Kyiv on 5 November, President Kuchma warned of negative consequences for Ukraine if it fails to adopt constitutional reform, Ukrainian Television reported. "There are no checks between the executive and legislative branches of power," Kuchma said. "There is no mutual responsibility. Tell me, please -- I don't want to offend anyone among the deputies -- but isn't there anybody there whose head is hurting because parliament is not working today." Kuchma added that if political reform is not implemented now, the next president will never make it happen. JM