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GEORGIA BRINGS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST CAPTAINS OF RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN FISHING VESSELS. The Poti City Court on January 13 remanded the captains of one Russian and one Ukrainian fishing boat intercepted three days earlier off the coast of the unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia to two months' pretrial detention, refusing an offer by the captain of the Russian vessel to pay 10,000 laris ($5,800) in bail, RIA Novosti and Civil Georgia reported. The two crews face charges of violating Georgia's state borders and illegal fishing. The remaining eight Russian and 10 Ukrainian crew members were released on bail of $1,100 each. Prior to the January 13 court hearing, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said he hoped the Georgian authorities would "show restraint" and release both the Russian crew and captain, RIA Novosti reported. LF
UKRAINIAN PREMIER ASKS PROSECUTOR-GENERAL TO OUST FOREIGN MINISTER. Viktor Yanukovych has asked the Prosecutor-General's Office to take measures against Borys Tarasyuk, whom parliament has dismissed as foreign minister but whom President Viktor Yushchenko has left in office, Interfax reported on January 15. The Verkhovna Rada passed on December 1 a resolution to fire Tarasyuk, but Yushchenko signed on December 5 the decree bringing Tarasyuk back in office. On January 15, Tarasyuk arrived in the Czech Republic for a two-day visit. The Ukrainian cabinet released a statement the same day saying that "Tarasyuk cannot be considered an official who is authorized by the state to conduct an official visit abroad." AM
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT OVERRIDES PRESIDENT'S VETO ON CABINET. The Verkohovna Rada on January 12 overrode with 366 votes the president's veto on the bill on the Ukrainian cabinet, Interfax reported. The bill was backed by the "anticrisis coalition" and the Yuliya Tymoshenko opposition caucus in the parliament. President Yushchenko recently vetoed the bill on the cabinet and put forward 42 amendments, none of which have been approved by the Verkhovna Rada. Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, the leader of the propresidential Our Ukraine caucus, said that the bill on the cabinet was written "at the dictate of the Party of Regions" and gives to Viktor Yanukovych's government an opportunity "to usurp power." Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko similarly said that the endorsement of the law on the cabinet indicates the final usurpation of power by the government. AM
UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADER DENIES COOPERATION WITH GOVERNMENT. Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, the leader of the eponymous bloc in the Verkhovna Rada, denied on January 12 the possibility of cooperation with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych or his Party of Regions, Interfax reported. "We cannot have any fundamental, consistent, systemic cooperation with the Party of Regions or with Viktor Yanukovych," Tymoshenko told reporters, commenting on the vote overriding the presidential veto. Tymoshenko said her parliamentary supporters supported the bill on the cabinet in order to break the government deadlock. AM