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'OUR UKRAINE' LEADER URGES JOURNALISTS TO STOP SPECULATING ABOUT HIS HEALTH... Our Ukraine leader and presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who went on 30 September to the Rudolfinerhaus hospital in Vienna for medical tests, has called on the Ukrainian press to stop speculating about his health and "manipulation with diagnoses," Interfax reported on 30 September. Yushchenko instructed his associates to pass all official records of his illness to the ad hoc parliamentary commission, which was set up on 21 September, the day he accused the authorities of trying to poison him. Yushchenko's official website (http://www.yuschenko.com.ua) published an official medical report provided to him by Rudolfinerhaus on 16 September, when he left the hospital after a weeklong treatment. The report says Yushchenko's condition may have been caused by "a viral infection or, possibly, chemical substances that usually are not contained in food products." Rudolfinerhaus subsequently stated that its doctors have not confirmed Yushchenko's poisoning, while Yushchenko's presidential rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, demanded a public apology from Yushchenko for his allegations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2004). JM
...AND SUES PREMIER'S SPOKESWOMAN, LAWMAKER FOR DEFAMATION. Yushchenko has filed a lawsuit with a district court in Kyiv, accusing Prime Minister Yanukovych's spokeswoman, Hanna Herman, of libeling him and his bloc, Our Ukraine, Ukrainian news agencies reported on 1 October. Following an egg attack on Yanukovych in Ivano-Frankivsk on 24 September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2004), Herman issued a statement accusing Our Ukraine adherents of being behind the incident. Moreover, Yushchenko sued lawmaker Oleksandr Koloniari from the pro-government Regions of Ukraine caucus, for slander. Commenting on the attack on Yanukovych, Koloniari reportedly said in the Verkhovna Rada on 24 September: "Mr. Yushchenko and Our Ukrainians! You have brought up a band of nationalist jerks." JM
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM FEDERALIZATION IDEA... President Vladimir Voronin said on 30 September that "I confess I have become considerably cooler toward the federalization idea," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Voronin said Moldova no longer feels federalization could lead to a settlement of the conflict because Transdniester does not respect agreements and is unlikely to stop bringing up new demands after federalization. "There are other ways [to settle the conflict]," Voronin said, without elaborating further. Voronin reiterated the need to alter the current five-sided negotiations format, according to Infotag. He said the five-sided format (which includes Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE alongside Moldova and Transdniester) has been in existence for 12 years but produced nothing. "This means we must look for the reasons of the deadlock and revise the format," he said. According to Voronin, the EU and the United States should become more involved in the negotiations. MS
...WARNS UKRAINE... According to Infotag, Voronin told the same press conference that "it should be clear to the Ukrainian leadership that we watch how relations between Ukraine and Transdniester develop, and we shall be speaking out on that issue. We shall not keep silent only because someone in the Ukrainian leadership has interests in Transdniester," he said in an apparent reference to President Leonid Kuchma's criticism of Moldova at the 16 September Astana summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States. He said he hopes the situation in Ukraine will change after the 31 October presidential elections. Voronin called for the international monitoring of Moldova's border with Ukraine to prevent smuggling by Transdniester. "We have signed 18 border regulation documents with Ukraine, but Kyiv somehow manages to always find a reason to ignore them," he said. MS