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UKRAINIAN PREMIER SAYS NO ELECTION CAMPAIGN BEFORE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT'S DECISION. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said at a cabinet meeting on April 4 that the ruling coalition will not make any attempt to enter a campaign for early parliamentary elections until the Constitutional Court rules that the presidential decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada and calling new elections is in line with the constitution, Channel 5 reported. Yanukovych reiterated his position that the presidential decree is a "mistake" and called on President Viktor Yushchenko to make compromises in order to overcome the current political crisis. According to Yanukovych, Yushchenko should rescind his decree in exchange for concessions from the ruling coalition on a number of controversial issues. Yanukovych suggested that the ruling coalition could meet Yushchenko halfway in amending the controversial law on the Cabinet of Ministers adopted in January and in abandoning the expansion of the parliamentary majority with individual deputies from the opposition. Simultaneously, Yanukovych accused the presidential administration of pressuring judges of the Constitutional Court, adding that Constitutional Court head Ivan Dombrovskyy will soon resign because of such pressure. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS DECISION ON EARLY ELECTIONS IRREVOCABLE... President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yanukovych discussed the current political standoff in the presidential office on April 3 for 4 1/2 hours, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported, citing the presidential press service. Yushchenko reportedly told Yanukovych that his decision to dissolve the parliament was final and warned the prime minister against resorting to force. "The main issue discussed at the meeting was to ensure strict implementation of the decree on an early election. Viktor Yushchenko, as commander in chief of Ukraine's armed forces, also stressed he would allow no use of force in the country," the president's press service reported. JM
UKRAINIAN PREMIER'S REGIONAL SUPPORTERS COME TO KYIV. According to police, some 4,500 people arrived in Kyiv in the morning of April 4 in busses from Ukrainian regions to support Prime Minister Yanukovych and protest against the presidential decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, UNIAN reported. Regional backers of the ruling coalition of the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party -- whose lawmakers have been continuing a parliamentary session despite the decree disbanding the legislature -- pitched more than 400 tents in downtown Kyiv. They also built a stage on Independence Square, which was the main rostrum for supporters of Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in November-December 2004. JM
RUSSIA OFFERS UKRAINE 'ASSISTANCE.' Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on April 3 in Yerevan, Armenia, that Russia "wants a resolution to be found [for the Ukrainian political crisis] within the framework of Ukrainian law and the Ukrainian Constitution, through a dialogue among all political forces on this legal basis," news agencies reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 3, 2007). He added that "as for the possibility of Russia, or the CIS, or other countries getting involved in helping resolve this crisis, I believe it is up to the Ukrainian side, first and foremost. If Ukraine asks for assistance, let me assure you that Russia will not hesitate to provide such help." He did not specify what this "assistance" might entail. In Moscow, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said that "the power struggle in Ukraine is turning from rivalry between [political] parties into confrontation between the sides that is taking place on the streets, which has already become standard practice, and that is fraught with violence and possible unrest. This is what we would like our Ukrainian colleagues and friends to stay away from." In Kyiv, a spokesman for President Viktor Yushchenko said that the president hopes to pay a working visit to Russia soon, Interfax reported. The spokesman added that "we will not [further] delay [the trip], because we need to finalize all issues pertaining to the plan for our relations for 2007-08." Also on April 3, the Russian daily "Trud" quoted Boris Nemtsov, who is a former adviser to the Ukrainian president, as saying that the political balance of forces in Ukraine is likely to remain the same whatever the outcome of the current crisis. Some other commentators told the daily, however, that the situation is delicate and could lead to violence or to a realignment of the political balance. PM