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OUR UKRAINE REPORTS ROAD INCIDENT INVOLVING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE... A KamAZ truck on a road from Kherson to Novooleksiyivka in southern Ukraine on 12 August tried three times to push presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's car off the road as Yushchenko, who was driving, wanted to overtake the truck, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported on 13 August, citing the Our Ukraine press service. Yushchenko's associates, who were traveling with him in a column of cars, detained the truck and called the traffic police. According to the Our Ukraine press service, the police released the truck driver in the morning of 13 August "without obtaining any explanations from him" with regard to the incident. "Despite the [police] report about the quick release of the driver, police officers were 'working' on him all night long, and there are reasons to fear that this incident will be used as a provocation against Yushchenko," the Our Ukraine press service added. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS KYIV CONTINUES TO SEEK EUROPEAN, EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma assured U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Crimea on 13 August that Ukraine's course toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration remains invariable, Interfax reported, citing the presidential press service. Kuchma also affirmed that Ukraine remains a strategic partner of the United States. Both politicians confirmed their readiness to develop the Ukrainian-U.S. partnership in the sphere of security and the struggle against terrorism. Rumsfeld praised the role of Ukrainian peacekeepers in Iraq and Kosova, saying that "the Ukrainians are doing their job wonderfully." Ukrainian Defense Minister Yevhen Marchus said after a meeting with Rumsfeld that the duration of the stay of the Ukrainian contingent in Iraq is a "subject of negotiations" and depends on the situation in that country. JM
OUR UKRAINE LEADER'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION STAFF STARTS 'LEGAL WAR.' The election staff of presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who heads the opposition Our Ukraine bloc, has filed 73 complaints with the Central Election Commission about violations of the law in the ongoing presidential election campaign, Interfax reported on 12 August. If the Central Election Commission fails to pay attention to these complaints, Yushchenko's staff has pledged to submit them to the Supreme Court. "We are starting a legal war," Our Ukraine lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told journalists. According to Yushchenko's election staff, the most frequent violations concern the use of government officials to campaign for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and officials and managers of enterprises applying pressure on voters to support Yanukovych. Yushchenko's campaigners also demanded that Yanukovych either resign from his post of prime minister or withdraw from the presidential race, charging that he is unfairly taking advantage of the large media attention he receives as the head of government. JM
...AND SAYS UKRAINE'S DANUBE DELTA CANAL CONSTRUCTION MUST STOP FOR REASSESSMENT. Schroeder also said in Bucharest on 12 August that Ukraine should stop building the controversial Bystraya Canal in the Danube River delta until experts have assessed its impact on the environment, Reuters reported. The subject was raised during the talks between Schroeder and Nastase. Schroeder said the German government has made its views known to Kyiv. However, he added, his cabinet is not in a position to stop German companies from working for the Ukrainian project, according to Mediafax. Last month, the EU asked Ukraine to halt the construction of the canal amid fears that the waterway could affect the Danube delta's unique ecosystem (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13, 14, and 15 July 2004). MS
...AS RUSSIAN, U.S. DEFENSE MINISTERS SIT DOWN TO DISCUSS THE SITUATION. Sergei Ivanov met on 13 August in St. Petersburg with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the situation in Georgia, as well as other international and bilateral topics, RIA-Novosti and other Russian news agencies reported. The officials were also expected to discuss plans for bilateral military cooperation in 2005. Rumsfeld arrived in Russia following stops in Ukraine and Azerbaijan. VY