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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

DEMONSTRATIONS MARK ANNIVERSARY OF UZBEK VIOLENCE... Demonstrations took place on May 12 in London, Brussels, Stockholm, Kyiv, and Moscow to mark the second anniversary of the violent suppression of unrest in Andijon, eastern Uzbekistan, in 2005, and reported. Protestors condemned the Uzbek government's actions and called on the international community to press for a full investigation into what they termed a "massacre." The Uzbek government puts the death toll from the Andijon events at 187 and maintains that it used necessary force to put down an outbreak of terrorist violence. Rights activists charge that government security forces carried out a massacre that killed several hundred people. DK

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PREMIER PLEDGE TO LAUNCH EARLY ELECTION CAMPAIGN ON MAY 16. President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych met in Kyiv on May 12 to discuss the progress made by the working group that they tasked earlier this month with preparing all necessary legislation for early parliamentary elections (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 11, 2007), Ukrainian media reported. Following the meeting, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Ivan Plyushch and First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told journalists that the Verkhovna Rada is expected to approve on May 16 a number of bills prepared by the working group to launch early polls. Asked about the chances of the election date being set on May 16, Azarov replied, "I believe it's 100 percent." Meanwhile, Raisa Bohatyryova, who coordinates the parliamentary majority of the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party, said in a statement on May 13 that Yushchenko is not looking for a compromise to end the political standoff, but seeking ways to denounce the 2004 constitutional reform and "usurp power in Ukraine." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF SECURITY COUNCIL. President Yushchenko on May 12 relieved Vitaliy Hayduk of his duties as secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) and appointed Ivan Plyushch to the post, the presidential website ( reported. Hayduk, who headed the RNBO since October 2006, was dismissed after tendering his resignation. Hayduk is a leader of the Industrial Union of Donbas, an affluent and influential business group in Ukraine. According to the "Ukrayinska pravda" website (, Hayduk differed with Yushchenko over how to handle the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine. Plyushch is a veteran of Ukrainian politics. He was parliamentary speaker in 1991-94 and 2000-02. Plyushch predicted in an interview with "Kommersant-Ukraina" on May 14 that early parliamentary polls in Ukraine will be held on July 15. JM