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UPPER HOUSE SIGNS OFF ON CONTENTIOUS UKRAINE ACCORDS. The Federation Council ratified two treaties with Ukraine on 22 April on the Sea of Azov and the border between the two countries, Russian and Western media reported. On 20 April, the Duma approved the contentious accords -- one of which stipulates that the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait are internal waters of both Ukraine and Russia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 April 2004). The Federation Council also approved a third accord on the Single Economic Space that was signed by the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in September and ratified by the Russian Duma on 20 April. Meanwhile, President Putin flew to Crimea, where he exchanged ratified treaties on 23 April with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. VY
BELARUS RATIFIES ACCORD ON SINGLE ECONOMIC SPACE. The Chamber of Representatives on 23 April ratified an agreement on the creation of a single economic space comprising Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, Belapan reported. Belarus was the last signatory of the agreement to ratify it. Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan endorsed it earlier this week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 April 2004). JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DEEMS RESOLUTION ON MANDATORY BROADCASTING IN UKRAINIAN UNCONSTITUTIONAL... Leonid Kuchma said on 22 April that the National Council for Radio and Television's recent resolution obliging all national and interregional broadcasters to start broadcasting only in Ukrainian as of 19 April (see "RFE/RL Media Matters," 23 April 2004) is unconstitutional and "should be brought in line with the current constitution," Interfax reported. "We need to read this resolution carefully -- it has no legal force, it only proposes what should be done," Kuchma added. JM
...AND SAYS TROOPS IN IRAQ TO STAY 'UNTIL THE END.' President Kuchma also pledged on 22 April that the Ukrainian contingent in Iraq will remain there until the conclusion of its mission, Interfax reported. "Ukraine went to Iraq on a peacekeeping mission," Kuchma said. "We are ready to fulfill our duty until the end. We will not run away." Kuchma added that there are no plans to increase the size of Ukraine's 1,650-strong contingent in Iraq. JM
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ORDERS PROBE INTO MUKACHEVE ELECTION. The Verkhovna Rada on 22 April voted by 250-52 to approve a resolution instructing the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor-General's Office, and the Security Service to investigate all circumstances around the controversial mayoral election in Mukacheve on 18 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 April 2004) and submit relevant reports to the legislature, Interfax reported. The resolution was proposed by the pro-government coalition following an abortive motion by the opposition to request that President Kuchma sack presidential administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk, Interior Minister Mykola Bilokon, and Transcarpathian Oblast Governor Ivan Rizak over the Mukacheve election. "By all accounts, there was manifestly fraudulent manipulation of the voting results [in Mukacheve]," the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said in a statement the same day. JM