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HAS UKRAINE LOST TRACK OF HUNDREDS OF MISSILES? Ukrainian Defense Minister Yevhen Marchuk said in an interview with the Kyiv-based newspaper "Den" of 25 March that after assuming his post in June he ordered an inventory to be taken of Ukrainian military property. Marchuk said his inventory revealed a 900 billion-hryvnya ($169 billion) gap with the inspection made six months earlier under his predecessor, Volodymyr Shkidchenko. "Unfortunately, even such exotic things happen today as [that] we are looking for several hundred missiles," Marchuk said. "They were removed from military service, but we cannot find them. They are said to have been utilized. But where are [the] results of their utilization?" Former Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk told the "Ukrayinska pravda" website (http://www2.pravda.com.ua) on 26 March that Marchuk's revelations are "nonsense." "I will not even comment on such nonsense. We have this habit of washing our dirty laundry in public," Kuzmuk said. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT REBUKES WEST OVER UNFINISHED NUCLEAR REACTORS. President Leonid Kuchma said on 26 March that Ukraine will complete two reactors at the Rivne and Khmelnytskyy nuclear-power plants on its own, Ukrainian Television reported. "Basically, this amounts to us making a challenge to the world, above all, to the G7, which undertook a commitment but has not yet honored it," Kuchma said. "They promise to give us money this summer or autumn. Well, they may keep it for themselves. We will do it without them. I have no doubt about that." Kuchma was referring to an earlier pledge by Western governments to assist Kyiv in completing the two reactors to make up for the power loss caused by the closure of the Chornobyl power plant in 2000. Kuchma threatened to sack Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev "with a bang" if the reactors are not started "on time." The government previously pledged to complete the Khmelnytskyy reactor in August and the Rivne reactor in October 2004. JM
POLISH PREMIER PLEDGES TO RESIGN. Prime Minister Leszek Miller announced on 26 March that a lack of political support and a split within the ruling Democratic Left Alliance has prompted his decision to step down on 2 May, one day after Poland enters the European Union, Polish media reported. "I am announcing my resignation...to make it easier to form a new cabinet, so that the succeeding government can immediately begin its work," Miller told journalists. President Aleksander Kwasniewski, who was attending Miller's news conference, said he will nominate a new prime minister on 29 March following consultations with some political parties. Kwasniewski vowed that the next government will stick to the fiscal-reform program prepared by Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Jerzy Hausner (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 27 January 2004). JM