"Fight and you shall overcome!"
The week started with Bill Clinton's visit to Ukraine, within the frame work of his European tour. Although the American president spent only six hours in Kyiv, his arrival was the most important event of the past week.
Meetings between Clinton and high Ukrainian authorities produced two major positive results for the country. First of all, the exact date of the Chernobyl nuclear power station’s closing down was negotiated during talks between Clinton and Ukrainian President, Leonid Kuchma.
Secondly, addressing numerous crowds of people in the centre of Kyiv, Clinton hurried to ensure Ukrainians that the United States does not want to see the eastern border of Europe as the western border of Ukraine. With such a statement he put hope in the hearts of many people that the country would not be left alone with its troubles.
Clinton’s trip to Kyiv is also seen by many as an attempt by the American president to turn the European Union's attention to Ukraine. The country needs European support in both the transformation process and in dealing with the shutdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power reactor.
Since the date of Chernobyl’s shutdown has been announced, it now requires a common harmonious approach to the problem. The USD 78 million promised by Clinton is just a third of the funds required to safely close the station, not least becuase the "Chernobyl question" is not solely limited to the matter of setting a closing date.
Money is needed to replace lost capacity after Chernobyl shuts down, and to re-employ over 5000 people whose work and life is presently connected to the station.
If the West fails to give proper support to the country, Ukraine will never overcome its current problems, despite Clinton quoting the words of national poet Taras Shevchenko: "Fight and you shall overcome!" which the American president repeated three times in Ukrainian during his visit.
Financial Times vs Ukraine: The Hunt for Witches Continues?
The 6 June issue of the Financial Times continued its investigation into corruption in the highest circles of the Ukrainian political and business élite.
This time the newspaper blamed Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for her involvement in money laundering and transactions made by the former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko (see back issue). Tymoshenko denies any connection with such money operations, she is relying on further investigations to restore her good name.
Meanwhile, Lazarenko is himself faced with a new accusation, coming from the Ukrainine itself. The Prosecutor General has opened a criminal case against him, charging Lazarenko with arranging contract killings.
If the accusation can be proven, it will undoubtedly aggravate the general guilt of the ex-prime minister and add new terms to the total number of years he will spend in jail.
It is still unclear which country will pass the final verdict – the US, Switzerland or Ukraine. President Kuchma has expressed his wish for Lazarenko to "serve a term in a Ukrainian prison."
Moscow worries about the intensification of anti-Russian sentiments in Ukraine
Last week's demonstrations in Lviv, connected to the cruel beating and death of the famous folk
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This week, the Russian Foreign Ministry sent an official statement to the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow, bringing the growth of right-wing radicalism in the country to the attention of the Ukrainian authorities.
In addition to the anti-Russian rallies held last week, Russia points to the extremely nationalistic spirit of Lviv University students and the mass media in western Ukraine.
Moscow authorities also blame the local Lviv government for collaboration with these extremists and the strangling of Russian language and culture in the region.
Since these issues have been offically expressed by the Russian government, Kyiv has promised to clarify the situation.
Natalya Krasnoboka, 9 June 2000
Den', daily national newspaper
Kyiv Post, weekly national newspaper
Facty, daily national newspaper
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
UA Today, on-line information agency
Ukrainska Pravda, on-line independent