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MOSCOW WILL NOT ABANDON SEVASTOPOL NAVY BASE. Celebrating Navy Day on 25 July in Sevastopol, home port of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov emphasized that Russia does not intend to abandon its Sevastopol base -- which is on Ukrainian territory -- even after it completes construction of a new base for the fleet in Novorossiisk, RTR reported. The construction of the Novorossiisk base "absolutely does not mean that we intend to reduce our forces based in Sevastopol," Ivanov said. He said the Black Sea Fleet's command center will remain in Sevastopol. Meanwhile, Russia's only heavy aircraft carrier, the "Admiral Kuznetsov," rejoined the Northern Fleet on 25 July following extensive repairs. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Viktor Fedorov told NTV on 25 July that his command "is constantly gaining ground despite a lack of funding." "We are building up our permanent-readiness forces and we are supporting really high-quality training for our crews," Fedorov said. RC
25 UKRAINIAN PARTIES BACK YANUKOVYCH CANDIDACY. Twenty-five Ukrainian political parties signed an agreement in Kyiv on 24 July on the creation of an electoral bloc called Together for the Future to support Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's candidacy in the presidential election scheduled for 31 October, Interfax reported. The agreement was signed by the Popular Democratic Party, the Party of Regions, the Labor Ukraine Party, the Social Democratic Party-united, and the Popular Agrarian Party, among others. The main aim is to mobilize an effective parliamentary coalition that "will act on the principles of transparency, tolerance, and political consensus," the agreement reads. AM
UKRAINIAN PREMIER CONCLUDES SOCIAL CONTRACT WITH TRADE UNIONS. Presidential hopeful and Prime Minister Yanukovych signed a social contract with the Ukrainian Trade Union Federation (FPU) on 23 July, Interfax reported. The contract sets out Yanukovych's goals and commitments if he is elected president for the development of domestic production; wage reform; adherence to constitutional rights in the education, science, culture, medicine, and labor spheres; guidelines for the setting of pension levels; and the prevention of official interference into the activities of self-governing social-insurance and trade-union funds. The FPU committed itself to canvassing for Yanukovych among trade-union members. AM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT QUESTIONS OPPOSITION UNITY. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on 24 July that he believes opposition elements will find it impossible to unify their efforts ahead of the 31 October presidential election, Interfax reported. "These are absolutely different people, absolutely different politicians, absolutely different ideologies," Kuchma said. "They are united by one thing: greed for power." Kuchma added that the country's opposition is also united by the "tape scandal" -- presumably a reference to the audiotapes secretly recorded by a presidential bodyguard that appear to implicate Kuchma in the unsolved killing of Ukrainian journalist Heorhiy Gongadze and other wrongdoing -- and the scandal connected with reports that Ukraine sold a sophisticated Kolchuga radar system to Iraq. "Many would like to replay the Yugoslav variant; however, Ukraine is not Yugoslavia," Kuchma said. AM
DOCUMENTS RELATED TO SLAIN UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST ARE POSTED TO DEDICATED WEBSITE. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) of Great Britain has launched a website dealing with the Gongadze slaying, Interfax reported on 24 July. The site (http://www.delogongadze.org) includes 180 scans of interrogation protocols of witnesses in the case. The NUJ said the documents are identical to those made available recently by the British daily "The Independent" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 July 2004). AM