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UKRAINIAN PREMIER ACCUSES YUSHCHENKO'S 'ENTOURAGE' OF INCITING 'EGG' ATTACK... Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych on 24 September suggested that supporters of his main presidential rival, Viktor Yushchenko, were behind the attack on him in Ivano-Frankivsk earlier the same day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 September 2004), Ukrainian media reported. "I am sorry for those young men who did this to me," Yanukovych said in a statement. "But I have no questions for them. At the same time, I have a question for [their] leaders, for Yushchenko's entourage, who pushed the young men to do this.... Is it your policy? Is it human?" The Interior Ministry said in a statement that some persons in a crowd shouting slogans in support of Yushchenko threw "several hard objects" that hit the premier in his head and chest as he was stepping out from a bus in Ivano-Frankivsk. However, video footage of the incident presented by Channel 5 television in Ukraine later the same day and subsequently by major European television channels shows that Yanukovych was hit in the right side of his chest only by one raw egg, after which he collapsed and was immediately evacuated from the site by bodyguards. Yanukovych spent several hours in hospital and was shown on television later on 24 September without any apparent injuries. JM
...AND COMMENTATORS DIFFER ON WHAT HIT PREMIER. The official version of the incident in Ivano-Frankivsk seems to be the one publicized by the Interior Ministry which mentions "several hard objects" that hit Yanukovych. However, there is no unanimity of views in Ukraine as to the nature of these objects. The antigovernment website "Ukrayinska pravda" claims that there were no other objects apart from an egg that hit Yanukovych, after which the premier, according to the website, feigned a picturesque collapse. This opinion was initially corroborated by an Interior Ministry spokeswoman who commented imediately after the incident that Yanukovych was hit only by an egg thrown by a 17-year-old, a view that seemed consistent with video footage of the incident. Later, however, the ministry modified its stance and spoke about "several hard objects." Lawmaker Stepan Havrysh, coordinator of the pro-government parliamentary coalition, said Yanukovych was hit by an egg in his temple and collapsed from a "pain shock." Lawmaker Taras Chornovil, who supports Yanukovych's presidential bid, claimed to have seen from an upper deck of Yanukovych's bus that the premier was hit on his temple by a stone. Serhiy Tihipko, head of Yanukovych's election campaign, said the premier was hit by a battery from a video camera. JM
YUSHCHENKO CONSOLIDATES PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT. Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, which form the coalition "Force of the People" supporting Yushchenko's presidential bid, nominated Verkhovna Rada Deputy Speaker Oleksandr Zinchenko as head of the coalition's "central staff" on 25 September, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported. Tymoshenko reportedly called on Yushchenko's campaign leaders and activists to work as "one united team, without intrigues and confrontation." Earlier, there were two coordinating centers for Yushchenko's election campaign: the Our Ukraine staff headed by Roman Bezsmertnyy and the election campaign staff led by Zinchenko (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 22 June 2004). JM
...AND CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPERS FOR TRANSDNIESTER. In the same interview, Voronin criticized the five-party negotiation format between Moldova and Transdniester, arguing that it is no longer working because unnamed forces in Russia and Ukraine have been covertly supporting the separatists. He said he wants international peacekeepers to replace the 500-strong Russian contingent of peacekeepers stationed in Transdniester. Voronin also admitted that Moldova's relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are cooling off, which is why he did not attend the recent CIS summit in Kazakhstan. He added, however, that the CIS represents "a good opportunity for better bilateral and multilateral relations." Voronin said he sees a parallel between the crisis this past summer in Transdniester and the crisis in Georgia's breakaway, pro-Russian South Ossetia region; both, he said, were orchestrated by outside forces. ZsM