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PROSECUTOR-GENERAL: CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST TYMOSHENKO WILL BE NOT CLOSED At the same Duma session on 26 January, Ustinov said that the criminal case involving Ukrainian Prime Minister-designate Yuliya Tymoshenko, who is accused by Russian investigators of giving multimillion-dollar bribes to Russian military officials "in exchange for illegal actions in the interests of [a] Ukrainian company," will not be closed, the Prosecutor-General's Office said (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 9 December 2004), RosBalt reported. "The case will be investigated in accordance with Russian legislation, nothing more, nothing less," he noted. Ustinov added that a Russian court could issue an arrest warrant for Tymoshenko and in that case she could be detained by police if she travelled to Russia. Such a scenario was discussed during the Moscow meeting on 24 January between President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 January 2005), reported. The website claimed that Yushchenko was satisfied by Putin's explanation of the situation, though it did not elaborate. VY

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT LAYS OUT SCHEDULE FOR PURSUING EU MEMBERSHIP... Viktor Yushchenko said in a BBC interview on 26 January that Ukraine may submit an official application for membership in the EU in just a few weeks. He said that "as soon as the government" and the department dealing with European integration policy is established, "We will have a separate deputy premier dealing with European affairs. As soon as [this] is done...we will raise the question at once." On the same day, he told reporters in Strasbourg that he hopes Ukraine will start negotiations with the EU on its associative membership in 2007, according to Interfax-Ukraine. JAC

...SAYS UKRAINE SHARES EU POSITION ON BELARUS. President Yushchenko noted in Strasbourg on 26 January that his country shares the EU's views on the situation in Belarus under the government of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Unian reported. He added that he was happy to see Belarusian flags during the Orange Revolution in Kyiv. He said that he spoke with some "interesting and courageous young Belarusians" who had their own pro-Yushchenko tent. Yushchenko stressed that despite the different ideological platforms of the Ukrainian and Belarusian governments, relations must remain "neighborly." Yushchenko also told reporters that he has received assurances from the Prosecutor-General's office that two criminal cases in the killing of Internet journalist Heorhiy Gondadze have been transferred to the courts, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( reported. JAC

MEDVEDCHUK EXPLAINS OPPOSITION PARTY'S PLANS... Former presidential administration head and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine-united (SPDU-o) Viktor Medvedchuk told reporters in Kyiv on 26 January that his party is now in opposition to the new government and will not accept any posts in the government or Verkhovna Rada, Interfax reported. In connection with the party's new policy, two ministers, acting Labor Minister Mykhaylo Papiyev and acting Education Minister Vasyl Kremen, have left the party, according to the "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( Medvedchuk said that his party's key priority in terms of foreign policy is to pursue Ukraine's entry in the Single Economic Space with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, Donetsk Ukrayina Television reported. He added that his party opposes attempts to hasten Ukraine's integration into the EU and WTO. JAC

...AND MAINTAINS RUMORS OF HIS WEALTH GREATLY EXAGGERATED. Medvedchuk also told reporters that he "regretfully" is not a dollar billionaire as some foreign media press reports have maintained, Interfax reported. "I am a law-abiding citizen. I have been and will remain one," he declared, adding that if any criminal investigations are launched against him he will consider them "political repression against the opposition," the "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( reported. He said that he has no plans to leave Ukraine, nor does former President Leonid Kuchma. He declined to answer reporters' questions about whether defeated presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych is in Egypt. JAC

REGIONAL UKRAINIAN GOVERNOR TENDERS RESIGNATION. Luhansk Governor Oleksandr Yefremov has tendered his resignation, Interfax and RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported on 26 January. According to the oblast press service, Yefremov did so in accordance with Ukrainian legislation that requires regional governors to tender their resignations to a newly-elected president. Yefremov, 60, has served in his post since April 1998. Luhansk Oblast residents strongly supported former Premier Yanukovych in the presidential election, giving him 91 percent of their votes. JAC