©2005 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

With the kind permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, InfoUkes Inc. has been given rights to electronically re-print these articles on our web site. Visit the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service page for more information. Also visit the RFE/RL home page for news stories on other Eastern European and FSU countries.

Return to Main RFE News Page
InfoUkes Home Page

ukraine-related news stories from RFE

BELARUSIAN POLES APPEAL TO PRESIDENT OVER THEIR ORGANIZATION. The Union of Poles in Belarus (SPB) on 22 June sent a petition to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, asking him to prevent the ongoing "destruction" of the SPB, Belapan reported. Last month the Justice Ministry invalidated an SPB congress in March, thus provoking a bitter standoff over who is to lead this organization (see "RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova Report," 22 June 2005). The authorities seem to be on the side of the old leadership that was replaced at the March congress. In May, Belarusian Television aired a documentary -- "Who Ordered the Killing of the Union of Poles?" -- which contained derisive remarks by the previous SPB leadership about their successors. "One of the most important achievements of Belarus is stability and the absence of interethnic conflicts. Those who are behind this provocative film hit this achievement above all," the petition says. The petition was reportedly signed by nearly 3,000 people. JM

UKRAINIAN REGIONAL OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF FOMENTING SEPARATISM. Ukrainian prosecutors on 22 June brought formal charges against Viktor Tykhonov, head of the Luhansk Oblast Council, under a Criminal Code article pertaining to jeopardizing Ukraine's territorial integrity, Ukrainian news agencies reported. It is the first official accusation in an ongoing investigation of separatist tendencies in the country. Following the second round of the 2004 presidential election in Ukraine, regional councilors from eastern and southern Ukraine held a convention attended by then prime minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, at which they threatened to hold a referendum on "a possible change of Ukraine's administrative-territorial system" if Yanukovych failed to become Ukrainian president (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 November 2004). JM

UKRAINIAN BUSINESSMAN DIES IN REPORTEDLY MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES. Influential businessmen and lawmaker Ihor Pluzhnykov died in mysterious circumstances on 22 June, the English-language "Kyiv Post" reported on 23 June. Pluzhnykov, 47, died in a hospital in Germany, following an illness ascribed by some accounts to poisoning. Pluzhnykov's death reportedly came as he was close to selling Inter, one of Ukraine's two top television channels. Pluzhnykov was a member of the Social Democratic Party-united led by Viktor Medvedchuk, former head of the presidential administration. Pluzhnykov's demise is the most recent in a string of deaths of individuals who were very influential during the era of former President Leonid Kuchma. In December, Ukrainian Credit Bank head Yuriy Lyakh was found dead in his office and Transportation Minister Heorhiy Kirpa was found shot dead at his home. In March, former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko was found dead at his dacha just before he was to give testimony in the case of murdered journalist Heorhiy Gongadze. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VISITS FRANCE. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko met with his French counterpart Jacques Chirac in Paris on 22 June, Reuters reported. "I am convinced that without Ukraine, Europe is not complete and with Ukraine, it would be much more interesting," Yushchenko said after the meeting. Chirac's spokesman said France supports Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization. Later the same day, Yushchenko participated in the unveiling of monument to Anna Yaroslavna, daughter of Kievan Rus Grand Duke Yaroslav the Wise and wife of French King Henri I (reigned from 1031-60). The monument, devised by Ukrainian sculptors, is in Senlis near Paris. JM

UKRAINE SEEKS CIVIL ROLE IN IRAQ AFTER MILITARY PULLOUT. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk told journalists in Brussels on 22 June that Ukraine will continue to play a civilian role in the reconstruction of Iraq after its 1,600-strong military contingent completes it pullout later this year, Reuters reported. "We will transform our presence into a nonmilitary one, having in mind cooperation on such projects as water supply, transportation, the oil and gas industry, the areas where Ukrainians have been known for decades in Iraq," Tarasyuk said. The first 150 Ukrainian troops left Iraq in March, with another 500 following in May. JM

...AS CHISINAU URGES OBSERVANCE OF BASIC RIGHTS IN TRANSDNIESTER. Moldovan Minister for Reintegration Vasile Sova told reporters in Vienna on 22 June that Tiraspol needs to ensure the observance of basic human rights, including the freedom of media, before any internationally monitored elections may be staged there, ITAR-TASS reported. "There are still political prisoners [in Transdniester], and they are recognized as political prisoners by the European Court of Human Rights, and the region is under the ideological control of the so-called military police or the so-called State Security Ministry," Sova noted. "Unless all of these obstacles are eliminated with the help of the international community, I don't think we can talk about setting a concrete date for elections there." The Moldovan parliament has recently approved Ukraine's plan for the Transdniester conflict settlement, which calls, among other provisions, for holding democratic parliamentary elections under international monitoring in the separatist region. JM

ABKHAZ PRESIDENT REJECTS INTERNATIONALIZATION OF PEACEKEEPING FORCE. Sergei Bagapsh told a group of visiting Russian journalists in Sukhum on 22 June that the Russian peacekeeping force deployed since 1994 under the CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone should remain there until the conflict is finally resolved, RIA-Novosti reported. At the same time, Bagapsh rejected proposals that other countries should send contingents to augment the Russian force, according to Interfax. Ukraine has repeatedly offered to provide peacekeepers to serve in a UN peacekeeping force in Abkhazia. LF