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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTORS PROBE ALLEGED BEATING OF LAWMAKERS. Deputy Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin told lawmakers in the Verkhovna Rada on 1 June that prosecutors have opened two criminal investigations into the alleged beating of opposition lawmakers Nestor Shufrych and Tamara Proshkuratova by a police squad in Uzhhorod in May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 May 2005), Ukrainian media reported. Shokin was speaking at a plenary sitting devoted to a discussion of the incident in Uzhhorod. He specified that one probe focuses on exceeding the authority by policemen while the other looks into the lawmakers' interference with the squad's actions during the incident. JM

UKRAINIAN VETERANS OF AFGHAN WAR DEMAND SOCIAL BENEFITS. Some 2,000 veterans of the Afghan war staged a picket in front of the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv on 31 May, demanding the dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko, whom they blame for failing to provide social benefits and housing to them under a law on the status of war veterans, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported. Some 150,000 Ukrainians fought in Afghanistan -- 3,290 were killed, more than 8,000 wounded, and some 4,700 discharged from the army as disabled. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES AMNESTY FOR 17,000. The Verkhovna Rada on 31 May passed a bill on an amnesty proposed by President Viktor Yushchenko, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported. The bill will reduce or terminate sentences for more than 17,000 convicts. JM

EU TO JOIN EFFORTS TO SETTLE TRANSDNIESTER CONFLICT. Adriaan Jacobovits de Szeged, the EU permanent representative in Moldova, confirmed to Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin in Chisinau on 31 May that the European Union will join the efforts to settle the conflict between Moldova and its separatist Transdniester region, Infotag reported. On 17 May, representatives of Moldova and Transdniester agreed to involve the United States and the European Union in the settlement process, which has so far been brokered by Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 May 2005). JM