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LARGE RALLY IN KHARKIV BACKS UKRAINIAN PREMIER'S PRESIDENTIAL BID. A mass rally in support of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's presidential candidacy took place in the evening of 14 July in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, Interfax reported. According to police estimates, some 100,000 people attended the gathering. According to representatives of the opposition Our Ukraine bloc, the crowd numbered no more than 50,000. Our Ukraine also charged that the local administration resorted to press-ganging people into attending the pro-Yanukovych demonstration. "It isn't the first time that Kharkiv residents have been herded together to a rally," the agency quoted a local Our Ukraine activist as saying. "Many are threatened with the loss of their jobs [for non-attendance]." JM
OUR UKRAINE LEADER WANTS TO PROLONG BAN ON LAND SALES. Opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, leader of the Our Ukraine bloc, said on 14 July that he wants the moratorium on land sales to be prolonged until 1 January 2007, Interfax reported, quoting the Our Ukraine press service. "If we don't prolong the moratorium on the sale of farmland now, we'll make the same mistake as we did with voucher privatization, when several families bought up everything for a song," Yushchenko said. President Leonid Kuchma recently vetoed a bill prolonging the moratorium on land trading from 1 January 2005 to 1 January 2007 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 2004). JM
UKRAINE DEFENDS DANUBE PROJECT. Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Motsyk said at a Bucharest meeting of the Danube Cooperation Process that the Bystraya canal project currently being implemented in a Danube Delta estuary is merely the reopening of a project abandoned during the Soviet era, Reuters reported. He said the canal would provide improved access to the Black Sea, thus helping develop a socially and economically poor region of Ukraine. Motsyk added that there are three deep waterways in the Danube Delta, none of which is in Ukraine. "We have the right to reopen a deep waterway in the Ukrainian part of the Danube," he said, adding that Kyiv will do all it can to avoid any negative impact on the environment. Catherine Day, who is the European Commission's director general for the environment, told the meeting that the EU has asked Ukraine to halt construction work on the canal "until a full environmental-impact study is carried out." Addressing the forum, Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase said any Danube River development project must take into account the need to protect the river's unique environment (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July 2004). MS