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NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST'S MURDER CASE. The Interior Ministry announced on 27 February that it has identified two men it believes abducted investigative Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze in September 2000, Interfax reported. On 1 March, Interfax, citing a highly placed source in the Interior Ministry, announced that two men have been arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in connection with the case. The unidentified men were said to be giving testimony about the killing. Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko told the press last week that his ministry is determined to find Gongadze's killers, and "those who ordered his killing." RK
U.S. REPORT CITES LATE IMPROVEMENT IN UKRAINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. The U.S. State Department stated in its 2004 human rights report released on 28 February that the Ukrainian government's human rights record "remained poor and worsened in a number of areas," but added that "there were also improvements in some areas, particularly toward the end of the year." The report, titled "Country Reports On Human Rights Practices," is submitted to Congress every year (for full report see http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/). It stated that Ukrainian citizens' "right to change their government peacefully was restricted during most of the year," adding that the Orange Revolution in November and December did much to change this. The report also criticized Ukrainian authorities for interfering "with the news media by harassing and intimidating journalists, censoring material, blocking interregional broadcasts of independent media, closing down independent media outlets, and pressuring them into practicing self-censorship." RK
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION BLOC TRADE ACCUSATIONS. Vladimir Voronin issued a statement on 28 February saying that "extremists, thieves, the leaders of the separatist regime in Tiraspol, and the totalitarian opposition" have joined forces to take revenge for the problems suffered over the past four years, reporter.md and the government's official website (www.moldova.md) reported. Voronin said that international organized crime structures are infuriated by Ukrainian-Moldovan cooperation in resolving the Transdniester issue (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 and 25 February 2005). Also on 28 February, the opposition Democratic Moldova Bloc (BMD) claimed that the government is continuing its attempts to criminalize the opposition by circulating letters that claim that a well-known criminal, who is currently serving a prison term, is supporting the opposition ahead of the 6 March general elections, reporter.md reported. UB