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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

EXPERT PROPOSES NEW POLICY TOWARD CIS... Writing in "Rossiiskaya gazeta" on 19 May, Council for Foreign and Defense Policy Chairman Sergei Karaganov said the restoration of Georgian central control over Adjara, the forthcoming elections in Ukraine, and many other developments of the past few weeks indicate that the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) may soon cease to exist. Karaganov proposes a new policy toward the post-Soviet states based not on multilateral alliances, but bilateral relations. He advocates increased Russian investment in the region and encouraging immigration from these countries. VY

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS FIVE MOTIONS TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM IRAQ. The Verkhovna Rada on 19 May rejected five draft resolutions calling for the pullout of the Ukrainian military contingent from Iraq, Ukrainian media reported. None of the resolutions was supported by more than 160 votes, while 226 votes were needed for approval. The voting followed a closed-door debate on the situation in Iraq (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 May 2004). National Security and Defense Council Secretary Volodymyr Radchenko and Security Service deputy chief Yuriy Zemlyanskyy reportedly told lawmakers during the debate that there is a threat of terrorist acts within Ukraine in connection with the presence of Ukrainian soldiers in Iraq. On 20 May, lawmakers from the Socialist Party and the Communist Party blocked the parliamentary rostrum following another abortive vote on a proposal to consider the issue of the Ukrainian contingent in Iraq. JM

POLL SAYS YUSHCHENKO COULD BEAT YANUKOVYCH IN UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RUNOFF. According to a survey conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Fund and SOCIS from 29 April to 6 May, Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko would beat Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in this year's presidential election if both were to qualify for the second round. The poll found that Yushchenko would obtain 36.8 percent of the vote in the second round, while Yanukovych would garner 31.4 percent. Moreover, 21.1 percent of respondents said they would vote against all candidates, 7 percent would not take part in the vote, and 12.8 percent said they are undecided. Asked about how they would vote if the election were held next week, 25.7 percent of respondents said they would cast their ballots for Yushchenko, 16.7 percent for Yanukovych, 10.4 percent for Communist Party head Petro Symonenko, 5.1 percent for Socialist Party head Oleksandr Moroz, and 3.6 percent for Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous opposition bloc. JM

U.S. COURT REFUSES TO HEAR MELNYCHENKO TAPES IN LAZARENKO TRIAL. U.S. Federal Judge Martin Jenkins of the Northern District Court in San Francisco, which is conducting the trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, on 19 May dismissed the defense's motion that tapes secretly made by former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko in President Leonid Kuchma's office be submitted as evidence, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported. Melnychenko claims the tapes include information that is essential for the trial. "I am sure that that without [listening to] these recordings the court cannot make a just decision in the Lazarenko case," the website quoted him as saying. JM