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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT REASSURES COMPATRIOTS ON UNCHANGED COURSE. Speaking to a crowd of some 3,500 people at the World Forum of Ukrainians in Kyiv on August 18, President Viktor Yushchenko said the country's policy priorities remain the same despite the nomination earlier this month of his presidential rival from 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, as prime minister, Ukrainian media reported. "We should publicly reject the disease that has begun creeping into Ukrainian politics, which is called federalism.... This is not Ukraine's choice," Yushchenko noted. He also stressed that Ukrainian will remain the only official language in Ukraine. Speaking about the country's integration into the European Union and NATO, Yushchenko emphasized that it is an "irreversible course." "We are a great people. We are committed to the values of democracy, liberalism, and national progress. In the 21st century, we will stand as a united Ukrainian people, a consolidated and powerful community that is present in the life of the planet with its actions, its work, and genuine national success," Yushchenko said in conclusion. JM

EXPLOSIONS ROCK ILL-FATED ARMS DEPOT IN UKRAINE. A fire broke out at an artillery-ammunition depot near the village of Novobohdanivka in Zaporizhzhya Oblast on August 19, triggering a series of explosions and injuring four people, Ukrainian and international media reported. Some 1,500 civilians have been evacuated from around the village and some 4,000 others were sent temporarily to shelters. Explosions at the same depot in May 2004 continued for a week, killing five and injuring four people (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 7, 10, and 11, 2004). A small fire and a series of explosions in the depot occurred also in July 2005, injuring one person. JM