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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

BELARUSIAN UNION BOSS DENIES FALSIFICATION OF INTERNATIONAL PETITION. Leanid Kozik, chairman of the pro-government Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB), has denied accusations that he forged foreign labor union leaders' signatures on a petition against the suspension of Belarus's benefits under the EU's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), Belapan reported on June 9. Guy Ryder, secretary-general of the International Trade Union Confederation, and John Monks, secretary-general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said in a letter to EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson that the Belarusian government ordered the FPB to win international support for its drive against the suspension of the GSP benefits, scheduled to take effect on June 21. The FPB claimed last month that its petition was signed by trade union organizations representing 16 countries, including the Moscow-headquartered International Association of Metal Workers' Trade Unions (MOP), an affiliation of Belarusian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Moldovan, Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian labor unions. However, MOP Chairman Nikolai Shatokhin subsequently denied this claim, saying that neither he nor other representatives of the organization signed the appeal. "Several of those union leaders whose signatures were included at the end of the statement have now stated categorically that they did not sign the statement and do not agree with it. Their apparent signatures were in fact scanned from other documents they had signed -- such as participants' lists from meetings held in Belarus -- and copied into the FPB statement," Ryder and Monks said in their letter. The GSP benefits for Belarus are due to be suspended as punishment for the government's failure to implement the International Labor Organization's recommendations regarding the trade union movement in Belarus. JM

UKRAINIAN SECURITY CHIEF SAYS RUSSIAN 'INTERFERENCE' THREATENS UKRAINE. Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), said in an interview with the "Financial Times" published on June 11 that Russian political interference and the lack of transparency surrounding energy imports from Russia threaten Ukraine as it strives to overcome the current political crisis. "We are a young country. For any country it is dangerous when domestic politics are interfered with by foreign sources," Nalyvaychenko said. The SBU chief promised that Russia and Ukraine will provide greater clarity about the natural-gas trade in the coming months. "Ukraine and Russia should make this situation more transparent. [We need to show] what the real prices are and what the real financial sources are here, the flow of money, and the risks of dirty money and money laundering. To know the real situation, the real operators, the real deal, is crucial," Nalyvaychenko added. JM