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                                   "UKRAINE REPORT 2003"
          "The Art of Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
       Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World"

            KYIV DAYS CELEBRATION WEEKEND IN UKRAINE
                          MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IN USA
                Anything Happening in Canada, the UK or Down Under?

"UKRAINE REPORT 2003," Number 48
Ukraine Market Reform Group (UMRG)
ArtUkraine.com Information Service (ARTUIS) Kyiv, Ukraine and Washington, D.C.
SAT-SUN, May 24-25, 2003

  1. CHERNOBYL STILL HAUNTS HILL FARMS IN WALES The Chernobyl nuclear disaster shook the world in 1986 - and hundreds

    of Welsh farmers continue to feel the tremors 17 years on. BBC NEWS, World Edition, UK, Thursday, May 22, 2003

  2. CHILDREN'S VOICE FROM UKRAINE WINS AWARD 2002 ONEWORLD/UNICEF AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING

    CHILDREN'S RADIO PROGRAMME Finalists were from Ukraine, Belize, Philippines, United States and Senegal UNICEF, New York, New York, May 23, 2003

  3. EBRD WANTS IMPROVED INVESTMENT CLIMATE-UKRAINE Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2003
  4. ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS SIGN AGREEMENT TO PROTECT EUROPE'S LARGEST RESERVE OF WILDLIFE

    The Carpathian Mountain Region Across Eight Countries By Associated Press, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 23, 2003

  5. KUCHMA OPTIMISTIC ABOUT UKRAINE'S INT. ROLE President Speaks at Summit of Heads of State in Salzburg, Austria One Plus One TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian, 23 May 03 BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, May 23, 2003
  6. MAJOR UKRAINIAN BANK FACES BANKRUPTCY Nearly Half of Ukrainians Depend on Ukrainian Oshchadbank [Savings Bank] Ukrayina Moloda, Kiev, in Ukrainian 22 May 03, p 1, 3 BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, May 23, 2003
  7. "OUR UKRAINE" LEADERS MEET GERMAN CHANCELLOR

    Yushchenko and Kostenko Discuss Political Situation In Ukraine Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian, 23 May 03 BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, May 23, 2003

  8. KRYCHEVSKY ART COLLECTION RETURNS TO

    UKRAINE FROM VENEZUELA By Daniel MacIsaac, Kyiv Post Staff Writer Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2003

  9. EDINBURGH UNIV. DRINKS TO $1 MILLION COKE BOOST Scholarships-Gifted Students from Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia By Angie Brown, Edinburgh Evening News Online Edinburgh, Scotland, Friday, 23rd May 2003
  10. LEADER OF UKRAINIAN SMUGGLING, PROSTITION RING

    JAILED FOR 14 YEARS, Six People Still Being Sought The Associated Press, Los Angeles, California, May 22, 2003

  11. CAMPAIGN MOUNTS TO MAINTAIN FUNDING TO UKRAINIAN

    SERVICES OF VOICE OF AMERICA AND RADIO FREE EUROPE Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS) Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 22, 2003

  12. RUSSIA AND UKRAINE DETERMINED TO COOPERATE ON

    An-70 TRANSPORTATION PLANE The first plane is expected to be produced in 2005 By Nadir Chikmetov, PRAVDA.ru, Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2003


    UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER ONE


  13. CHERNOBYL STILL HAUNTS HILL FARMS IN WALES The Chernobyl nuclear disaster shook the world in 1986 - and hundreds

    of Welsh farmers continue to feel the tremors 17 years Ukrainian President Kuchma Appeals to Europe for More Help With Chernobyl

The news coincides with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma - currently hosting pan-European talks - appealing for help to continue the recovery after Chernobyl.

"The very fact that 17 years after the accident in the Ukraine, radioactive contamination can still contaminate farms some 2,000 miles away, demonstrates the deadly dangers of nuclear power," he said.

"We're therefore happy to monitor our stock. Keeping ramifications of the Chernobyl disaster in the spotlight on a European scale is important to the future of our community."

Steps being taken to highlight possible dangers and prospects of future environmental development, will be among debate at the Environmental Security for Durable Development in Ukraine.

But President Kuchma is also due to discuss how to secure funding to complete the controversial construction of two new nuclear reactors when he meets the World Bank officials.

And environmental groups are opposed to his plans, warning of a disaster worse than the explosion in 1986. (END)


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/3049759.stm Quote: Keeping ramifications of the Chernobyl disaster in the spotlight on a European scale is important to the future of our community. (in side block) Snowdonia farmer Glyn Roberts
Photo: Chernobyl: More than 400 British farms remain affected Photo: Farmer Glyn Roberts is eager to restore consumer confidence

UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER TWO


2.CHILDREN'S VOICE FROM UKRAINE WINS 2002 ONEWORLD/UNICEF
       AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CHILDREN'S RADIO PROGRAMME
                    Entries from Ukraine, Belize, Philippines, United States
                               and Senegal selected as finalists for prize

NEW YORK, 23 May 2003 - Children's Voice from Ukraine has been named the winner of the 2002 OneWorld/UNICEF award for outstanding radio produced by and for children.

The winning entry, Children's Voice - Street Children is a programme featuring powerful interviews with children who live on the street and focuses on their rights and concerns. The broadcast is one of a series on children on the street produced by the Independent Children's Media Center in Kiev, Ukraine.

All entries from the competition are available for listening on OneWorld Radio, campaign page
http://radio.oneworld.net/index.php?fuseaction=cms.campaignsPage under "Radio Prize 2002". (END)


For more information on the radio prize please contact: Jeannette Gonzalez, UNICEF New York, (212) 326-7278, jgonzalez@unicef.org, Mohammad Jalloh, UNICEF Media, New York, (212) 326 7516 mjalloh@unicef.org, Jenny Eschweiler, OneWorld Radio Editor, jenny.eschweiler@oneworld.net

http://www.unicef.org/newsline/2003/03pr39award.htm


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER THREE


3.EBRD CALLS FOR IMPROVED INVESTMENT CLIMATE IN UKRAINE

Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2003

Kyiv. (Interfax) - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Jean Lemierre has said that it is necessary to improve the investment climate in Ukraine.

Lemierre told journalists after a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych in Kyiv on Wednesday that the cooperation program signed by Ukraine and the EBRD in April this year is one tool for moving in this direction.

The EBRD president noted the improved macroeconomic situation in Ukraine, He said that this year, EBRD investment in Ukraine would amount to 300 million euros, with the state sector accounting for two thirds of this. This indicates the need to improve the investment climate, to increase the share of the private sector in investment, he said.

Lemierre noted that the issue of improving the investment climate was discussed during his meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister and president. I received a clear signal that they realize the necessity for these changes to achieve progress, he said.

The EBRD is currently implementing 59 projects in Ukraine, worth a total of about 1.4 billion euro. (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER FOUR


4.           ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS SIGN AGREEMENT TO
          PROTECT EUROPE'S LARGEST RESERVE OF WILDLIFE
              The Carpathian Mountain Region Across Eight Countries

By Associated Press, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 23, 2003

KIEV, Ukraine - Environment ministers from five East European countries signed a major regional environmental agreement Thursday, aimed at protecting Europe's largest reserve of wildlife and untouched forests while smoothing the way for future membership in the European Union.

Officials from Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovakia signed the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians at a United Nations-sponsored conference of 55 countries to strengthen environmental protections and harmonize policies across Europe and Central Asia. Poland and the Czech Republic are expected to sign shortly.

Meanwhile, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus penned an agreement to stop environmental degradation and rehabilitate the basin of the Dnipro River, one of Europe's largest waterways.

Conference participants have also signed protocols regulating the release and transfer of industrial pollutants and establishing liability and compensation standards for environmental damage from industrial accidents that spread beyond a country's borders. (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER FIVE


5. KUCHMA OPTIMISTIC ABOUT UKRAINE'S INTERNATIONAL ROLE President Speaks at Summit of Heads of State in Salzburg, Austria

One Plus One TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian, 23 May 03 BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, May 23, 2003

[Presenter] Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has made several important political statements, speaking at the summit of Central and Eastern European heads of state [in Salzburg, Austria].

First, Ukrainians will, after all, take part in the so-called stabilization force in Iraq. In the president's words, the road to this was opened by yesterday's UN resolution [on Iraq].

The second statement was about the European Union. Ukraine wants it to share knowledge and experience rather than provide financial support, Kuchma said. Official Kiev wants Ukrainian citizens to be able to move freely around Europe, and European markets to be fully opened to Ukrainian goods on terms of fair competition. Vadym Zadorozhnyy reports from Salzburg.

[Correspondent] Apparently, politicians' and diplomats' efforts were not in vain and Ukraine will, after all, benefit from the post-war situation in the world. At any rate, President Leonid Kuchma is sure that Ukraine will take part in the stabilization force in Iraq in the Polish-run sector.

[Kuchma] Ukraine will take part in the stabilization forces. You know, provided external problems and internal procedural problems are solved. Especially since the [UN] Security Council has requested the whole world, all countries of the world, practically, to support the issue of solving problems of security and stability in Iraq.

[Correspondent] Reports from Warsaw, where an international conference on peacekeeping is taking place, added to the president's confidence. Ukraine is one of almost 20 candidates for deploying troops to the Polish sector in Iraq.

Perhaps, Kuchma in Salzburg knows more than journalists in Warsaw do, for the conference is being held behind closed doors. According to unofficial reports in the Polish press, about 2,000 Ukrainian servicemen can be deployed to Iraq.

Leonid Kuchma praised parliament for approving a law on a 13-per-cent personal tax [on 22 May]. This is a realistic step towards approving the Tax Code, he said.

[Kuchma] Over the recent years, I simply liked yesterday's atmosphere in parliament. They rose above their narrow party or factional interests and approved a great number of legislative acts needed by Ukraine today.

[Correspondent] In Salzburg, Kuchma once again secured his colleagues' support for Ukraine's associate membership in the European Union. EU leaders positively received Ukraine's intention to join the WTO by the end of this year, the president said. They suggested that a conference attended by European businessmen be held in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian leader invited his Italian, Czech and Slovenian counterparts to visit Kiev. He also discussed a Ukrainian-Polish economic forum scheduled for late June with Polish President [Aleksander] Kwasniewski. (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER SIX


6. MAJOR UKRAINIAN BANK FACES BANKRUPTCY

Nearly half of Ukrainians depend on Ukrainian Oshchadbank [Savings Bank]

Ukrayina Moloda, Kiev, in Ukrainian 22 May 03, p 1, 3 BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, May 23, 2003

Nearly half of Ukrainians depend on the Ukrainian Oshchadbank [Savings Bank]. They habitually rely on it in matters of pensions, utility payments and compensation for their deposits lost as a result of inflation in the early 1990s.

"Based on an audit conducted at Oshchadbank, the National Bank of Ukraine [NBU] has drawn the conclusion that the bank's capital has virtually been lost through loss-making credit operations," MP Volodymyr Chernyak, a member of the opposition Our Ukraine faction and the parliamentary committee for economic policy, said in his address to the Supreme Council [parliament] on 21 May.

This led to a loss of assets worth 66m hryvnyas [12.45m dollars]". Mr Chernyak cited specific examples: Oshchadbank granted an unrecoverable loan of 15m hryvnyas [2.8m dollars] to Ukrprodinvest [Ukrainian food company] and lost 77m hryvnyas [14.53m dollars] lent to the Derzhspetsimpeksbank bank. As a result, Oshchadbank's reserves totalled 211.4m hryvnyas [39.89m dollars] as of 1 April 2003, which is just 48.3 per cent of what they should have been.

He suggested that the Supreme Council should "create a special audit commission, ask the Prosecutor-General's Office to supervise Oshchadbank's activity in the interests of the state, obligate the Oshchadbank board to draw up a programme for the bank's recovery and development and rotate Supreme Council representatives on the bank's supervisory council". (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER SEVEN


7.      "OUR" UKRAINE LEADERS MEET GERMAN CHANCELLOR
           Yushchenko and Kostenko Discuss Political Situation In Ukraine

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian, 23 May 03 BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, May 23, 2003

Kiev, 23 May: Ukraine may well demand that the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other international organizations assist it in holding an open and democratic election, representatives of the reformist Our Ukraine bloc told German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Our Ukraine leader, MP Viktor Yushchenko and the head of the Ukrainian People's Party, MP Yuriy Kostenko, who are in Germany to attend festivities to mark the anniversary of the German Social Democratic Party, met Schroeder today.

According to the Our Ukraine press service, Yushchenko and Kostenko discussed the political situation in Ukraine with Schroeder, "in particular the issues of the consolidation of opposition forces, development of political parties in Ukraine, the problems of structuring the Ukrainian political elite and establishing bilateral relations between [political] parties and [the two] parliaments".

Schroeder, who is also the leader of the German Social Democratic Party, showed interest "in the situation around the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine, its timing as well as Ukraine's readiness to ensure a transparent and democratic vote," the press service said.

Yushchenko and Kostenko met media representatives at the end of their visit to Germany. Commenting on the results of the visit, the two MPs said that the main result of the visit was the "very broad consultations" which were conducted by representatives of Our Ukraine. Yushchenko and Kostenko noted the high level of talks when Ukrainian politicians informed members of the German government and politicians about the most urgent problems in Ukraine.

"The MPs noted the high level of interest expressed by German politicians towards obtaining information about Ukraine from primary sources, and their concern about the path which our country will take in 18 months (after the presidential election - Interfax)," the press service said. (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER EIGHT


8.               KRYCHEVSKY ART COLLECTION RETURNS TO
                                   UKRAINE FROM VENEZUELA

By Daniel MacIsaac, Kyiv Post Staff Writer Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2003

Or, to be more precise, the work of the multi-talented artist and academic who left the Soviet Union for France and then Venezuela, who made a new life for himself and his family in Caracas and who died there at the age of 81 in 1952, is being returned to Ukraine.

"We are confident that now these works, which have been a treasure for us, will at last be studied by experts who understand how these can help strengthen the identity of the Ukrainian people and help construct a bridge between the past and the future," Krychevsky's granddaughter Oksana Linde de Ochoa read in halting Ukrainian at a presentation at Ukraine House on May 12. The ceremony marked the return of the collection to Kyiv.

The collection is comprised of some 300 Krychevsky pieces from the family archive, including oil paintings and watercolors, sketch-designs for such buildings as the City Council in Poltava and the Shevchenko Memorial Museum in Kaniv as well as graphics, patterns and drawings. Many examples graced the walls and display cases of Ukraine House, showing soft, romantic landscapes of Crimea painted by the artist in the 1920s, and river scenes of the Dnipro from the 1930s and '40s, rendered in pastel blues, greens and pinks.

In making her first trip to Ukraine, Linde de Ochoa was fulfilling the wish of her mother, Halyna Krychevska Linde, who was Krychevsky's daughter, an artist herself, and a woman who dreamt of returning her father's works to his native Ukraine.

Following the one-day exhibition in Kyiv, attended by such cultural and political luminaries as Culture Fund director Borys Olynik and Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk, Linde de Ochoa went on to co-host presentations in Poltava and Kharkiv - cities also connected with Krychevsky.

"I'm looking forward to visiting all the places in Kyiv where my grandfather lived and worked," she said. "Then I want to go to Crimea, because looking at his paintings, I know I would like that place, too."

'From Caracas to Ukraine'

Both Linde de Ochoa's trip and the return of the Krychevsky collection was made possible through the patronage of several parties, including Michael Bleyzer, an American citizen originally from Kharkiv and president and CEO of SigmaBleyzer financial management, and his wife Natasha. After meeting in the United States in the winter of 2001, the three helped initiate plans to bring the collection to Ukraine. And once everything was finalized earlier this month, the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington also hosted an exhibition called "From Caracas to Ukraine" before the party and the collection made the trip to Ukraine.

"I feel wonderful," Bleyzer said following the May 12 presentation. "I think it's an incredible accomplishment and I hope it's the start of something bigger than this event; the beginning of the return of Ukrainian history and Ukrainian culture to Ukraine - all those things without which this country has no future."

How the Krychevsky collection will be divided up among the museums of central and northeastern Ukraine remains to be seen, however. The family has requested that the collection be distributed among institutions in the cities and towns in which he worked, and a Culture Ministry commission is currently studying the problem. An unofficial plan would see the collection of 298 pieces quite evenly divided among the Kharkiv Art Museum, the Shevchenko National Reserve in Kaniv, the State Museum of Books and Book Publishing of Ukraine, the State Museum of Theater, Music and Cinematic Arts of Ukraine, the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the Poltava Local Lore Museum (the former City Council), the Museum of Cultural Heritage in Kyiv and the Art Museum in Lebedina.

Bleyzer stressed that it's an accomplishment that there's even a Krychevsky collection to return to Ukraine at all. He referred to the artist having lost most of his collection first in a house fire in Kyiv toward the end of World War I and then later having much of it confiscated by the Soviet authorities and customs officials when the family left Ukraine in 1943.

"And so Krychevsky started again in Paris and he started again in Caracas," Bleyzer said. "A lot of the artwork you see is Ukrainian but was portrayed in Venezuela, and so for many specialists this is an incredible event because his collection is a blend of South American culture and South American art with Ukrainian memories; an incredible phenomenon."

"Critics already value Krychevsky's work highly," said Anatoly Melnyk, director of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. "It's really very good and very important for Ukraine that Ukrainian art be in our country."

As for now, Melnyk just has to wait and see what part of the collection NAMU will receive, and enjoy. (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER NINE


9. EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY DRINKS TO $1 MILLION COKE BOOST Scholarships Gifted Students-Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia

The money from the Coca-Cola Foundation - amounting to more than 610,000 -will allow ten students from Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine to take up degree courses at the university over the next five years.

"The generous donation from Coca-Cola will allow a number of these young people, who wouldn't otherwise have had the opportunity, to benefit from an experience that could greatly shape their lives and the communities they live in." (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER TEN


10. LEADER OF UKRAINIAN SMUGGLING, PROSTITUTION RING

JAILED FOR 14 YEARS, Six People Still Being Sought

LOS ANGELES -- A ringleader of a group that smuggled 400 Ukrainian immigrants into the United States through Baja California, Mexico, and forced some of the women to become prostitutes in Hollywood, was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in federal prison.

The group allegedly smuggled Ukrainian nationals into the United States by concealing them in cars and aboard boats or sneaking them across unfenced portions of the California-Mexico border.

Most of the immigrants paid $7,000 in smuggling fees. Some of the women were told they could repay fees by working as nannies, models, escorts or actresses, but were later forced into prostitution, prosecutors said. Other immigrants were given one-way tickets to other U.S. cities. (END)


UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER ELEVEN


11. CAMPAIGN MOUNTS TO MAINTAIN FUNDING TO UKRAINIAN

SERVICES OF VOICE OF AMERICA AND RADIO FREE EUROPE

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS) Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 22, 2003

Washington (UNIS) - Since the announcement in early February 2003 that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) recommended a reduction in funds to the Ukrainian services of Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America's (UCCA) Washington bureau, the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), has begun a feverish campaign to reverse this proposal.

The four-pronged approach brings forth the weight of the Ukrainian American community and its organizations, the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, other ethnic American organizations, as well as the non-governmental sector in Ukraine. Each group in its own capacity has informed the BBG about the inherent need to sustain international broadcasting programs to Ukraine for the near future, especially in light of the upcoming October 2004 presidential elections in Ukraine.

The statement stipulates the reduction of many Central and East European services, virtually eliminating many of them, while the Ukrainian services of VOA would be reduced by 50% (from two hours of broadcasting to a proposed one hour per day), as well as a reduction in operational costs in the RFE/RL

Ukrainian service. Though many of the European services are being cut back, the overall budget for BBG is expected to rise by 9.5% with programming increases to the Middle East and Southeast Asia to fight the war on international terrorism.

Learning of the drastic cutbacks to the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts, the UCCA penned a letter to BBG Chairman Tomlinson. The letter, dated March 12, 2003, provided arguments in favor of maintaining the level of funding to the VOA and RFE/RL. "The importance of Voice of America's and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's role as a provider of objective information to the public is even greater in the context of next year's presidential elections in Ukraine," stated the UCCA letter. "Thus, at this critical juncture in U.S.-Ukrainian relations, a reduction of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Ukrainian services is ill-advised and signifies a lack on interest in sustained democratic development in Ukraine."

BBG Executive Director Brian T. Conniff responded to the UCCA letter by thanking the representative organization for its high regard and esteem of the Ukrainian broadcasts and assured that these items would be brought to the attention of the BBG members during its annual budgetary review meeting.

An influential component in the campaign to maintain VOA and RFE/RL Ukrainian radio services is the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. A letter signed by the Caucus co-chairs and several members of the Caucus was sent to the Chairman of the BBG. In their letter, the CUC members indicated that "only Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasting services are capable of providing Ukrainians with a balanced and comprehensive perspective about events occurring in Ukraine. A democratic, market-oriented Ukraine, with a free and vibrant media, integrated with the Euro-Atlantic community remains a top strategic priority for the United States.

The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty must continue to play a fundamental role in facilitating such positive changes in Ukraine." In response to the CUC letter, BBG Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson also welcomed the Members' "high evaluation of the role of U.S. international broadcasting" and agreed that "broadcasting to Ukraine remains important to the BGG." Members of the CUC are also actively discussing the issue with their colleagues and urging them to contact the BBG and urge support of the Ukrainian broadcasts at previous levels.

Meanwhile, the UCCA Kyiv bureau coordinated a campaign among professional journalist unions and other non-governmental organizations (NGO's) in Ukraine in order to inform them of the proposed budgetary reductions and forward the opinion of Ukrainian civic society members to the members of BBG. The bureau received multiple letters from the non-governmental sector in Ukraine, which addressed the subjects of the proposed funding reductions and urged BBG members to reconsider their decision. Such letters were received from the National Journalists' Union of Ukraine, "Borysten" magazine, and several other organizations.

The common opinion expressed in all letters was that the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty play an extremely important role as a tool shaping public opinion in Ukraine as an easily accessible source of independent, objective, and unbiased information, which otherwise would be unavailable to many in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America president Michael Sawkiw, Jr. also provided testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary of the Appropriations Committee on April 11, 2003 regarding this issue. "Reducing funding to the Ukrainian service of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty would reduce airtime and affect coverage of important issues in Ukraine," stated the UCCA president to the Subcommittee. "In combination with the current conditions in the Ukrainian media, such changes would deplete the influx of objective and diverse information to the Ukrainian public."

Citing the crucially important 2004 presidential elections in Ukraine, the UCCA argued in its testimony that the reduction of funds to these radio stations "comes at precisely the wrong time." The UCCA recommended members of the Subcommittee to refrain from authorizing the proposed budgetary reductions for the Ukrainian services of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

While the Ukrainian American community understands that U.S. homeland security and strategic interests in the Middle East as well as South-East Asia have acquired new significance and importance, the Ukrainian National Information Service believes that reductions in strategically important factors for democratic development in Ukraine may result in negative repercussions and not only slow the progress of Ukraine's reforms, but compromise the achievements of previously implemented programs.

Maintaining the level of funding for the next several years would allow Ukraine to solidify its reforms and continue on the road to a well-developed society based on strong democratic principles. Such an outcome a paramount goal of U.S. policy in the region and would allow the United States to have a stable partner there. (END)


UNIS Contact: Serhiy Zhykharev, tel: (202) 547-0018

UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No.48: ARTICLE NUMBER TWELVE


12.     RUSSIA AND UKRAINE DETERMINED TO COOPERATE ON
                             An-70 TRANSPORTATION PLANE
                    The first plane is expected to be produced in 2005

An-70 is the joint project of Russia and Ukraine, the aircraft will be produced at the enterprise Polyot, which is located in the Russian city of Omsk (Siberia). Georgy Polischuk also said that the development of the plane's production would determine the future of the company. Rosaviakosmos and other federal bodies have already provided their support for the production of the An-70 plane in Omsk.

Officials from the Russian Defense Ministry have recently stated that the An-70 aircraft project is not good for Russia due to poor technical data and high cost. Yet, President Putin said in May of 2003 (during negotiations with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma) that the implementation of the project should be continued.

The program of the military transportation An-70 aircraft (short take off and landing plane) is being implemented by Russia and Ukraine on the base of intergovernmental agreements signed on June 24th, 1993 and on May 19th 1999.

An-70 is capable of carrying 35 tons of cargo. State customers of the project are Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries, the principal designer of the plane is the Antonov Design Bureau (Kiev, Ukraine). The first An-70 crashed in 1995 during a flight test on the outskirts of Kiev, another plane crashed in 2001 not far from Omsk. (END)


Read the original in Russian: (Translated by: Dmitry Sudakov) http://economics.pravda.ru/economics/2003/7/21/64/10720_Polet.html
"UKRAINE REPORT 2003," No.48, SAT-SUN, May 24-25, 2003 (END)
           "The Art of Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
       Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World"
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