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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

BELARUSIAN YOUTH ACTIVIST FINED FOR UNAUTHORIZED MARCH. A district court in Minsk on May 3 convicted Dzmitry Fedaruk, a leader of the unregistered opposition group Youth Front (Malady Front), for organizing an unsanctioned march during the sanctioned Chornobyl Way demonstration on April 26 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 27, 2007), Belapan and RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported. The court fined Fedaruk 930,000 Belarusian rubles ($435). "People who had gathered for the Chornobyl Way had to get back home somehow after the end of the demonstration," Fedaruk told RFE/RL. "Since the entire area was encircled by special forces and secret services, we decided to go in a avoid being caught by them. Now I've been accused of organizing an unauthorized march." Fedaruk and four other Youth Front activists are facing criminal prosecution on separate charges of acting on behalf of an unregistered organization under an article of the Criminal Code that carries a prison sentence of up to two years. JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER CALLS FOR NEW TALKS WITH PRESIDENT ON CRISIS. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on May 3 called on President Viktor Yushchenko to renew their talks on how to solve the ongoing political crisis, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Yanukovych noted that such talks should also involve the parliamentary speaker, Constitutional Court judges, and representatives of different political forces. But Yanukovych also charged that Yushchenko violated an earlier agreement by issuing a second decree on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada and calling early elections. According to Yanukovych, he and Yushchenko had agreed not to make any decisions during the course of negotiations on the crisis. Yanukovych also revealed that he has not been able to get in touch with Yushchenko since April 26, when the president issued his second decree on early elections. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS TWO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGES. President Yushchenko on May 4 appointed Vasyl Kostytskyy as a Constitutional Court judge to replace Syuzanna Stanik, who was dismissed earlier this week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 2, 2007), Ukrainian media reported. Kostytskyy, who has a doctorate in law, was a deputy environment minister in 1991-93 and a deputy finance minister in 2004-05. On May 3, Yushchenko appointed Stepan Havrysh as a Constitutional Court judge, replacing Valeriy Pshenichnyy, whom he also dismissed earlier this week. Havrysh previously served on the panel of the Constitutional Court for a short stint from December 2004 to January 2005, having been appointed by former President Leonid Kuchma. Party of Regions lawmaker Yuriy Myroshnychenko argued on May 3 that the appointment of Havrysh is invalid because the law on the Constitutional Court stipulates that the relevant presidential decree must also be signed by the prime minister and the justice minister, which was not the case. JM