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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN GRAIN REPORTEDLY ROTS BECAUSE OF EXPORT QUOTAS. Up to 10,000 tons of Ukrainian grain is thrown into the Black Sea every night, Ukrainian Television reported on January 26. The grain, loaded into elevators at Ukrainian ports last summer to be subsequently exported, stayed there for too long because the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych introduced grain-export quotas. The government justified the quotas by saying there would be not enough grain for domestic needs. Having been stored for six months, the grain reportedly spoiled, germinated, and was attacked by insects. The volume of unusable grain now amounts to some 270,000 tons. Farmers say the grain market in Ukraine is saturated with 6 million tons of excess grain, which could be sold abroad for 4 billion hryvnyas ($800 million). "It is a paradoxical situation that this country has never seen before. Every night 5,000-10,000 tons of grain are thrown out into the Black Sea, feeding fish. At the same time, we are looking for funds for the agricultural sector," Ukrainian Television quoted Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation Chairman Leonid Kozachenko as saying. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ENDORSES AMBITIOUS PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM. President Viktor Yushchenko on January 26 signed into law several bills extending the number of enterprises to be put up for privatization in 2007, including such potentially attractive items as the Kyiv-based Ukrtelekom telecommunications provider and the Odesa Port Plant, which produces fertilizers, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Ukraine's 2007 budget projects revenues from privatization at 10.5 billion hryvnyas ($2.1 billion). In 2006, the state budget received 550 million hryvnyas from privatization. JM