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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ORDERS PROBE INTO TOP-LEVEL CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS... Viktor Yushchenko instructed the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on 12 September to investigate within the next 10 days the allegations of corruption in the presidential entourage that were voiced earlier this month by former presidential chief of staff Oleksandr Zinchenko (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 September 2005), Interfax-Ukraine and UNIAN reported. Yushchenko gave this instruction while introducing new SBU chief Ihor Drizhchanyy. Drizhchanyy replaced Oleksandr Turchynov of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, who tendered his resignation on 8 September when Yushchenko sacked Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko and her cabinet. According to Yushchenko, Turchynov's performance was highly unsatisfactory. "[The SBU] proved unable to radically change the situation during the past seven months," Yushchenko said, criticizing the Turchynov-led service particularly for the situation on the state border. "The problems of trading in humans and narcotics and of refugees have remained at last year's level," Yushchenko stressed. JM

...AND PROPOSES ACTING PREMIER FOR PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL. President Yushchenko has submitted the candidacy of Yuriy Yekhanurov for the Verkhovna Rada's approval as the head of a new cabinet, Interfax Ukraine reported on 13 September, quoting the presidential press service. Yushchenko appointed Yekhanurov as acting prime minister on 8 September, shortly after the dismissal of Tymoshenko. Yekhanurov was head of the State Property Fund in 1994-97; he worked as economy minister, first deputy prime minister, and first deputy chief of the presidential administration in the era of former President Leonid Kuchma; and he organized Yushchenko's parliamentary election campaign in 2002 and presidential election campaign in 2004. Last March, Yekhanurov was elected head of the central executive committee of Yushchenko's governing Our Ukraine People's Union party. Yekhanurov, 57, needs 226 votes in the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada for approval. His predecessor, Tymoshenko, was approved in February with a record number of 373 votes. JM

FORMER PREMIER SAYS UKRAINE HAS INAUGURATED PARLIAMENTARY CAMPAIGN. Tymoshenko said in an interview with "Kommersant-Daily" on 13 September that last week's dismissal of her cabinet has inaugurated a campaign for the 2006 parliamentary elections in Ukraine. "I think a parliamentary campaign has started, therefore attempts are being made to remove all possible competitors from it," Tymoshenko said. "I know that the fight will be very harsh and intense. It will be the fight of those who want to wipe me off the political map of my country. [This fight] will be very unfair. But I have fought for eight years to finally make my country acquire moral ideals, and I will without fail follow this path to its logical conclusion in order to have a government that does not steal, to have officials that do not steal, and to have a country that could be relieved of this oppression." JM