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EXPERT OUTLINES HIS VIEW OF SINGLE ECONOMIC SPACE. Mikhail Delyagin, the director of the Institute for Globalization Problems and one of the leaders of the Motherland bloc, told the "Open Economy" web portal ( on 25 May that Russia needs the Single Economic Space (SES) to buy out the "most valuable and profitable enterprises [functioning] in the economies of the former Soviet Union." "They should work for us," he said, "because these [post-Soviet] countries, including the Baltic states, have proved their incapability." He added: "It is the European Union that took responsibility for the Baltic states, and we bear responsibility for the rest. But to develop [these] territories we should gain control over them." The presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan pledged in Yalta on 24 May that they will proceed with the implementation of the treaty on the creation of the SES they signed in September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 2004). Delyagin also said he is skeptical about the pace of integration within the SES. "First they signed the agreement, almost a year afterward [they] ratified it, and only then they sit down to discuss what they have signed," he said. VY

JUDGE DISCLOSES ANNULLED CONVICTIONS OF UKRAINIAN PREMIER. Oleksandr Kondratyev, head of the Court of Appeals in Donetsk Oblast, on 26 May named the articles of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR under which current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was twice sentenced to prison terms in the past, Interfax and the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported. In 1967, Yanukovych was sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention center under Article 141 pertaining to theft and robbery. In 1970, Yanukovych was sentenced to two years in prison under Article 102 pertaining to "infliction of bodily injuries of medium seriousness." Kondratyev noted that the court files of Yanukovych's criminal cases have been destroyed in accordance with limits on the preservation of court files. Kondratyev confirmed that both of Yanukovych's convictions were annulled in 1978 as judicial errors. JM

WILL UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION RUN SEPARATELY IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION? Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous opposition bloc, said on Inter Television on 25 May that she will run in the upcoming presidential election on her own if Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko and Socialist Party head Oleksandr Moroz fail to establish an election coalition with her party, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported. Tymoshenko added that despite her "insistent" attempts to sign such a coalition accord, neither Yushchenko nor Moroz has agreed to do so. Moroz commented that such an accord could be signed if the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine support proposed constitutional amendments intended to reform the country's political system. JM

UKRAINE TO PULL OUT PEACEKEEPERS FROM SIERRA LEONE, REINFORCE IRAQ CONTINGENT. Petro Shulyak, commander of the Land Troops of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told journalists on 25 May that the Ukrainian peacekeeping contingent of more than 500 soldiers in Sierra Leone will be withdrawn from that country by the end of this year, Interfax and UNIAN reported. Shulyak recalled that Ukrainian peacekeepers are also serving in Liberia (298 servicemen), Lebanon (185), Kosova (315), and Iraq (1,610). He said the United Nations has so far paid Ukraine $223 million to cover its expenses on peacekeeping operations. Shulyak also announced that following this year's rotation of the Ukrainian contingent in Iraq its numerical strength will increase to 1,722 servicemen, ITAR-TASS reported. JM