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U.S. SAYS NO EVIDENCE OF UKRAINE'S ARMS SALES TO IRAQ. There is no evidence that Ukraine has transferred military equipment to Iraq, but the United States remains "extraordinarily sensitive" to that issue, Reuters reported on 1 August, quoting a U.S. State Department senior official. "The Ukrainians have incredible technology, especially missile technology, and we know that there are countries with less-than-good reputations who would love to have that technology," the official told a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity. He urged Ukraine to put more safeguards around its missile technology or risk having security concerns hurt its bid to join NATO, AP reported. "There's no evidence that there have been military transfers from Ukraine to Iraq," the official added. Media reports in April alleged that Ukraine may have sold four radar systems to Iraq in violation of UN sanctions (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 23 April 2002). JM
UKRAINE SUSPENDS WORK AT 63 MINES OVER SAFETY CONCERNS. The government has suspended work at 62 coal mines in Ukraine, saying they do not observe work-safety regulations to the necessary extent, UNIAN reported on 1 April. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor-General's Office has taken over the criminal investigation into the tragic 31 March blast at the Zasyadko coal mine from Donetsk Oblast prosecutors (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 April 2002). The Prosecutor-General's Office also pledged to check into why investigations into two previous disasters at the Zasyadko mine in 1999 and 2002 (which clamed 105 lives) were concluded without finding anyone responsible for them. The Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc on 1 April called for holding an emergency parliamentary session to discuss the Zasyadko mine and Lviv air-show tragedies to "work out a program of urgent actions." The bloc said in a statement that the authorities have only one "scenario" to react to such tragedies. This scenario, the statement claims, boils down to "conducting never-ending investigations, issuing unconvincing comments, making staff reshuffles, and covering the responsibility of the real culprits." JM