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UKRAINIAN POLICE ARREST KYIV MARKET BOMBING SUSPECTS... Police have arrested four people -- three men and one woman -- suspected of organizing two explosions at Kyiv's Troyeshchynskyy market on 20 August, Ukrainian news agencies reported on 27 August, quoting Kyiv police chief Oleksandr Milenin. Milenin disclosed that the detainees were members of "political movements" and specified that two individuals had membership cards of the Ukrainian Popular Party. According to Milenin, the motive behind the blasts was to "influence the political situation" and create "social tension" among the population. The 20 August explosions at the Troyeshchynskyy market killed one person and injured 13 others. There were reportedly citizens of Vietnam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh among the casualties. JM
...AS OPPOSITION LAWMAKER ACCUSES POLICE OF 'PROVOCATION.' Our Ukraine lawmaker Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, a member of the Ukrainian Popular Party (UNP), told UNIAN that the police's statement about the involvement of UNP members in the Troyeshchynskyy market blasts is a "provocation" intended to impact the presidential election. The UNP, which bore the name of Ukrainian Popular Rukh until 25 January 2003, is a member of opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc. Kyiv Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko told journalists on 27 August that the motive behind the blast was purely criminal. The Kyiv city administration closed the Troyeshchynskyy market on 25 August, which caused a protest by market vendors who blocked several streets in the vicinity of the market later the same day and staged a picket in front of the mayoral office on 26 August. The city administration reopened the market on 26 August. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS INTERNATIONAL CRITICS OF DANUBE-BLACK SEA CANAL. Following the official inauguration of the Bystraya canal project in the Ukrainian part of the Danube River Delta on 26 August (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 August 2004), President Leonid Kuchma told journalists that international criticism of the Ukrainian canal project was motivated by "political and economic" reasons rather than environmental, Interfax reported. "You all know well how many skeptical accusations and even open provocations there have been that set the entire international community against this project," Kuchma said. "But we know very well whose interests stand behind these attempts to stir the waters around the canal, while in fact all international ecological requirements were met during its construction." International criticism of the Bystraya canal project primarily focused on its potential damage to the Danube Delta's unique ecosystem. By opening the Bystraya canal, Ukraine has broken Romania's monopoly on navigation in the delta. JM
ROMANIA TO SUE UKRAINE OVER DANUBE DELTA CANAL. The government said on 26 August that it will file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Ukraine's opening of a shipping canal in the Danube delta, Reuters reported. Construction on the Bystraya Canal was officially inaugurated the same day by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. Romanian President Ion Iliescu, Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, and the foreign affairs, transport, environment, and justice ministers met to discuss the issue. Environmentalists claim that changes to the delta's water table will harm the extensive flora and fauna in the area, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, however, dismissed the criticism as politically and economically motivated. He said that "all the international ecological requirements were met." Both the EU and the U.S. have asked Ukraine to halt construction until a more complete environmental-impact assessment can be completed. PB