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FORMER UKRAINIAN WHISTLEBLOWER READY TO PUBLICIZE RECORDINGS OF CURRENT PRESIDENT, PREMIER. Former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko, whose alleged secret recordings in the office of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma were made public in November 2000, said in an interview with Channel 5 on June 24 that he is ready to publicize those of his tapes that feature current President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Ukrainian media reported. When Melnychenko was allegedly making his recordings, Yushchenko was the head of the National Bank and subsequently prime minister, while Yanukovych was the governor of Donetsk Oblast. "Let's set up a group of several experts, make a transcript [of the tapes], and publish a separate book or a brochure," Melnychenko said. "If Viktor Andriyovych [Yushchenko] or society need us to really show [his] face and if Viktor Andriyovych is not against it, I can heed this [need]," Melnychenko said. "I think we can do this not only with Yushchenko but also with Viktor Fedorovych [Yanukovych] and other politicians." At the same time, Melnychenko noted that his tapes do not contain "anything that could compromise Viktor Yushchenko very strongly." Melnychenko left Ukraine in September 2000, following the kidnapping of Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze. In April 2001 he was given political asylum in the United States. Melnychenko returned to Ukraine in 2005. The authenticity of his tapes, which indicate that Kuchma and other officials from his entourage might have been involved in the murder of Gongadze, has not been confirmed definitively. JM
TWO PEACEKEEPERS DIE IN KOSOVA. Two soldiers in the international peacekeeping force in Kosova, KFOR, died on June 22 in separate road accidents, international media reported the same day. A Ukrainian peacekeeper died and three other soldiers were injured, two of them seriously, in a road accident near the northern town of Leposavic, AP and Ukrainian media reported on June 22. Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko said there was no link to "military activities," Interfax-Ukraine reported on June 22. The nationalities of the injured men have not been disclosed. In the other accident, one Swiss soldier was killed and five others were injured when their armored personnel carrier overturned, AP quoted Swiss and KFOR officials as saying. Three of the injured have since been discharged from the hospital. No other details of the accident are available. AG