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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION SIGNS UNITY DEAL. The Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine on February 24 signed an agreement on the creation of a "united opposition," Ukrainian media reported. The signatories pledge to vote in harmony on legislation in the Verkhovna Rada and coordinate coalition-building activities in the event of their victory in potential early parliamentary elections. The agreement creates a Coordinating Council as the leading body of the united opposition, on which each bloc will be represented by six people. Yuliya Tymoshenko said in a television interview on February 25 that the agreement does not oblige the two blocs to put forward a single list of candidates in parliamentary elections. The next parliamentary elections in Ukraine are due in 2011. JM

UKRAINIAN RULING COALITION URGES MEETING WITH PRESIDENT. Raisa Bohatyryova, coordinator of the parliamentary majority, has called on President Viktor Yushchenko to meet with leaders of all parliamentary caucuses and discuss the danger of a "deepening national split," UNIAN reported on February 24. "The opposition forces, which have unfortunately been joined by the pro-presidential Our Ukraine, destabilize the work of [the Verkhovna Rada] and pursue an obvious goal -- to undermine the work of the legislature and the government at the same time in order to provoke a nationwide political crisis," Bohatyryova told journalists, adding that the opposition is seeking early parliamentary elections. "We are ready for any early elections, both ideologically and financially, but is the country ready for them? I am sure that the elections won't change anything," she noted. Last week, the ruling majority rejected Yushchenko's nominees for the posts of foreign minister and Security Service chief in a tense standoff between ruling-coalition and opposition lawmakers (see "RFE/RL Newsline," February 23, 2007). JM