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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN COURT JAILS TWO OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS FOR ANTI-PREMIER ACTION. A district court in Kharkiv on 5 May found two Our Ukraine members guilty of defaming Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych during an unauthorized rally in the city on 1 May, Interfax and UNIAN reported, quoting the Our Ukraine press service. Yevhen Zolotaryov and Ivan Varchenko received prison sentences of 15 and 10 days, respectively. The two men and other opposition activists reportedly staged a performance called "The Last Shirt for Yanukovych from the Ukrainian People," during which they took off their shirts and placed them in front of the oblast administration office in Kharkiv. The court ruled that the performance insulted Yanukovych's honor. JM

UKRAINIAN PATRIARCH'S VISIT REPORTEDLY FOILED BY RIVAL CHURCH. Patriarch Filaret, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate has rescheduled his visit to Odesa that was originally planned for 5 May, Interfax reported on 5 May. "The reason for canceling Patriarch Filaret's visit was an aggressive community of believers of the [Ukrainian Orthodox Church]-Moscow Patriarchate led by the organization Common Fatherland headed by Valeriy Kaurov," said an unidentified local priest who is subordinate to the Kyiv Patriarchate. "Filaret must not come to Odesa, otherwise unrest will begin," Kaurov reportedly warned the Odesa mayoral office. The Moscow-subordinate Ukrainian Orthodox Church has 15 churches in Odesa, while three are in the jurisdiction of the Kyiv Patriarchate. JM

MORE THAN 7.5 MILLION UKRAINIANS USE MOBILE PHONES. The number of users of cellular phones in Ukraine increased by 4 percent in April and exceeded 7.5 million, Interfax reported on 6 May, quoting official data from the country's mobile-communications operators. JM

ENLARGEMENT COMMISSIONER SAYS MOLDOVA TO REMAIN OUTSIDE EU FOR LONG TIME. EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen, in an interview with the BBC cited by Flux on 5 May, said the EU will merely offer Moldova "the chance to get closer to its economic realm, but not the possibility to become a full member of the EU." Verheugen added that everyone should admit that "for a long time from now on, the western border of the former Soviet Union will stay the eastern border of the EU with the exception of the Baltic states." Verheugen said Ukraine and Moldova should become good neighbors to the EU. That, he said, would get them closer to the union, especially in the economic sphere. ZsM