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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SEES NO NEED FOR FAIR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ACCORD. Leonid Kuchma has said he is skeptical about the need for presidential candidates to sign a declaration agreeing to a fair election proposed by Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 14 July 2004), Interfax reported. "[The Yushchenko-signed] text mostly speaks about the need to obey the law, write the truth about oneself, and so on," Kuchma told "Den" newspaper on 20 July. "How can this be understood?... What about those not signing this declaration? Do they have the right not to obey the law?" Kuchma stressed that compliance with the Ukrainian Constitution and the law on presidential elections is sufficient to hold a fair presidential ballot in Ukraine. AM

TWO MORE CANDIDATES JOIN PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN UKRAINE. The Central Election Commission on 20 July registered Roman Kozak and Dmytro Korchynskyy as candidates for the 31 October presidential election, Interfax reported. Kozak is leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in Ukraine and Korchynskyy heads the nationalist Brotherhood association. The number of registered presidential candidates now stands at 12. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko has invited monitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to observe the fall presidential election in Ukraine, Interfax reported on 20 July. Hryshchenko pledged to create favorable conditions for the monitoring mission and said that Ukraine will do its utmost to ensure the vote meets international standards. AM

BLAST KILLS 31 IN UKRAINIAN MINE. A methane explosion on 19 July killed at least 31 Ukrainian miners in a coal mine in Rodynske, a town in the Donetsk Oblast, Interfax reported on 20 July, quoting Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Kluyev. Five miners are still missing. The Fuel and Energy Ministry said 69 miners have died in employment-related accidents in Ukraine in the first half of 2004. AM