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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

REPORT SAYS ACTING PRESIDENT WINS TURKMEN ELECTION... Ukraine's ICTV Television reported on February 12 that acting Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov won 95 percent of the vote in the February 11 presidential election. The report could not be independently confirmed. Turkmen Central Election Commission Chairman Murad Karriev told ITAR-TASS on February 12 that there will be no second round, suggesting that a clear winner has emerged in the first round. Berdymukhammedov, who was named acting president in the wake of President Saparmurat Niyazov's death in December (see "RFE/RL Newsline," December 21, 2006), was widely expected to win the election. DK

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADER URGES EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Yuliya Tymoshenko, head of the eponymous opposition bloc, said at a news conference in Kyiv on February 12 that she would like to have early parliamentary elections preceded by the adoption of a new constitution, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "Were a referendum to be held on the dissolution of parliament, it would yield positive results and a minimum 60 percent of voters would vote to disband it," Tymoshenko asserted. She did not elaborate on how the current legislature could be disbanded to make new elections possible. JM

ROMANIA ASKS UKRAINE TO REFRAIN FROM POPULATING DISPUTED ISLET. The Romanian Foreign Ministry has requested that Ukraine demonstrate restraint in populating the tiny Serpents Island in the Black Sea, Interfax reported on February 12. "Bucharest insistently advises Ukraine to refrain from attempts of establishing artificial settlements in a territory that is a subject of dispute between the two states," the ministry said in a recent statement. Romania and Ukraine have been in litigation before the Hague-based International Court of Justice since 2005 over the delimitation of their maritime border around Serpents Island (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 17, 2006). Ukraine regards the island as an area entitled to its own territorial waters while Romania sees it as a cliff without such a right. The island has an area of 1.5 square kilometers and a population of some 80 people, including lighthouse keepers, naval surveyors, biologists, and geophysicists. The Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution last week giving the name Bile to the settlement on the islet. JM