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...AND SETS OUT PLAN FOR DEBT REPAYMENT TO HIT VETERANS, CHORNOBYL VICTIMS. Lukashenka said Belarus is capable of repaying $200 million or "even $300 million" in gas debt to Russia within the next year and ordered his cabinet to do so. Apparently to underscore Russian intransigence in demanding repayment, he suggested that Belarus reduce pensions to war veterans and spending on those affected by the Chornobyl disaster in order to pay its gas debt. "We will take the money from those people who were rotting [together with Russians] in the trenches of World War II," Belarusian Television quoted Lukashenka as saying. Lukashenka also instructed his ministers to use energy resources sparingly and cut gas supplies to all consumers who do not pay in a timely manner. "And don't borrow from them [Russia] any more, better [to] ask for [money] from Arabs, from the West, from America. They will help us irrespective of the relations we have with them," Lukashenka added. Premier Henadz Navitski left for Moscow on 11 November to seek a solution to the gas-supply row. JM
KYIV CALLS ON UN TO PROBE KOLCHUGA ALLEGATIONS. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko has asked the UN Security Council to look into U.S. allegations that Ukraine might have sold a Kolchuga radar system to Iraq, UNIAN reported on 11 November, quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Serhiy Borodenkov. Zlenko said in a letter to the Security Council that Kyiv disagrees with the claim by U.S. and British experts that Ukrainian officials failed to provide them with sufficient information when they investigated the Kolchuga issue in Ukraine last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 2002). "We should not leave this situation in an ambiguous position. We need to appeal to the higher authority also, because Iraqi issues are not only the American security and our bilateral relations but are issues of world peace and security," Zlenko said on 10 November, in an apparent reference to an earlier statement by U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher that there is no need for a UN probe. "If the Ukrainian government had wanted to clarify matters fully, they could have done so with the U.S. and the U.K. team," Boucher said on 6 November. JM
UKRAINIAN LEFTISTS CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY OF BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION. Some 6,000 members of the Communist Party and other Ukrainian leftist parties and organizations held a rally on European Square in Kyiv on 7 November to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia, UNIAN reported. "Down with the hated regime and those who betrayed the Ukrainian people," AP quoted Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko as saying to the crowd. Participants in the rally laid flowers at a monument to Lenin and sang a song called "Lenin Lives." Similar, albeit less well-attended leftist rallies, took place in Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, and other cities. JM
AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT ADVOCATES UKRAINE'S ENTRY TO EU. Austrian President Tomas Klestil told Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Vienna on 6 November that he is ready to be a "political advocate" of Ukraine on its path toward EU membership, according to UNIAN. Kuchma paid an official visit to Austria on 6-7 November. "The future Europe, democratic and independent, cannot exist without Russia and its nearest neighbor, Ukraine," Klestil reportedly told Kuchma. JM