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RUSSIA AGAIN OFFERS UKRAINE 'ASSISTANCE.' Viktor Chernomyrdin, who is Russia's ambassador to Ukraine and a former Russian prime minister, said in Kyiv on April 4 that "if questions arrive from Ukraine, we shall offer assistance," Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 3 and 4, 2007). He added that "we have not been hired as aides, but if requests for assistance arrive, assistance will be provided." He did not specify what kind of help Russia might offer or at whose request. He made the remarks to journalists after Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's meeting with foreign ambassadors. Chernomyrdin also stressed that the Ukrainians must settle their differences through negotiations. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also offered "assistance." On April 5, the Gazprom-owned daily "Izvestia" wrote that "current events in Ukraine are painfully reminiscent of the October 1993 tragedy in Russia. There's the same kind of confrontation between the parliament and the president. The opponents are just as unwilling to listen to each other's arguments." The daily also noted that some supporters of Yanukovych, who have been bussed into Kyiv from Donetsk, blame the United States for the current troubles. One young man told the Moscow daily: "Do you really think this was [President Viktor] Yushchenko's own idea? The Americans were involved. [Yuliya] Tymoshenko [of the Tymoshenko Bloc] had her reasons for visiting Washington. Besides, why would the president keep meeting with [U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine] William Taylor?" PM
UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO DECIDE WITHIN 15 DAYS ON WHETHER TO EXAMINE DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT. The Constitutional Court will need 15 days to make a decision on whether to open a case concerning President Viktor Yushchenko's April 2 decree on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada (see "RFE/RL Newsline," March 3, 2007), Ukrainian media reported, citing the Constitutional Court press service. More than 50 ruling-coalition lawmakers on April 3 sent a formal request to the Constitutional Court, asking it for a verdict within five days on whether the presidential decree is in line with the constitution. On April 4, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and Verkhovna Rada speaker Oleksandr Moroz announced that Constitutional Court head Ivan Dombrovskyy tendered his resignation, allegedly because of pressure exerted on him by the presidential administration. The Presidential Secretariat promptly denied this allegation. Later the same day, First Deputy Cabinet Minister Olena Lukash said the Constitutional Court's judges refused to accept Dombrovskyy's resignation, while Our Ukraine lawmaker Mykola Onishchuk said Dombrovskyy was on sick leave. There have so far been no public comments from Dombrovskyy himself on his status or whereabouts. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WARNS GOVERNMENT OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR DISOBEYING HIS DECREE. President Yushchenko said at a session of the National Security and Defense Council in Kyiv on April 5 that the Cabinet of Ministers will face criminal responsibility if it fails to obey his decree on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada, UNIAN reported. Yushchenko requested of Prime Minister Yanukovych, who attended the session along with Verkhovna Rada speaker Moroz, that the government allocate funds for a campaign for the early parliamentary elections on May 27, as stipulated by his decree. Yushchenko also appealed to all political forces in Ukraine to restrain from sending supporters to the streets during the current crisis. Meanwhile, police reported that some 6,000 supporters of Yanukovych and the ruling coalition arrived in Kyiv from the provinces in the morning of April 5. Anti-Yushchenko demonstrators have reportedly pitched more than 500 tents in downtown Kyiv, where are staying overnight. According to police reports, an April 4 rally on Kyiv's Independence Square in support of the ruling coalition attracted some 10,000 people. Also on April 4, the Verkhovna Rada, which has been continuing its session despite Yushchenko's decree to disband it, adopted a resolution slamming Yushchenko for the creation of "legal chaos" in the country. JM
"RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova Report" is compiled on the basis of a variety of sources.
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