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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOWS NOT TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION. President Leonid Kuchma on 1 February bluntly rejected the idea of running for a third presidential term, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( reported, publishing a transcription of Kuchma's interview with the 1+1 television channel. "Indeed, the Constitutional Court's resolution allows me to run in this year's election," Kuchma said. "However, the last word is naturally for me to say. But I have already repeatedly presented my position." Kuchma also denied the speculations that he may name a presidential successor. "Ukraine is not Russia," Kuchma said. "We have never had tsars. We have had hetmans [Ukrainian Cossack military leaders]. But they, as everybody knows, were elected. Therefore, boys, go ahead and fight!" JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL AIDE BLASTS 'ABSURD' PACE RESOLUTION ON POLITICAL REFORM. Oleksandr Zadorozniy, permanent representative of the Ukrainian president in the Verkhovna Rada, said on 30 January that last week's resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) warning Kyiv against pushing the current political reform by unconstitutional means (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 January 2004) is an "ultimatum," UNIAN reported. Zadorozhniy said the resolution is "absolutely absurd" and does not reflect the situation in Ukraine in either a factual or legal sense. He added that the resolution was drafted "by two crazy ladies who do not understand Ukrainian developments at all," in an apparent reference to PACE monitors Hanne Severinsen and Renate Wohlwend (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 and 22 January 2004). According to Zadorozhniy, the PACE intends to impose opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko as a new president on Ukraine. JM