Ukraine and NATO - together again?
An unprecedented 10-day joint Ukrainian / NATO naval exercise is taking place in the Black Sea near the port of Odessa. Over 50 warships from 10 NATO countries, including the USA, Germany and Great Britain, together with the naval forces from several post-Communist nations, are conducting manoeuvres on Ukrainian territory from 19 June till 1 July 2000.
Some 5500 Ukrainian servicemen, including 900 marines, are participating in the largest event of this kind since Ukraine gained independence, according to Ukrainian navy spokesman Mykola Savchenko. As was expected, Russia refused an invitation to participate in the exercises alongside troops from the Western alliance.
Ukraine and Russia - problems again?
Max van der Stoel, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) High Commissioner for National Minorities, arrived in Kyiv on Monday. The main reason for his trip is the situation of the Russian minority in Ukraine.
After his Kyiv mission, Van der Stoel plans to visit Moscow in order to get an idea about the living conditions of the Ukrainian minority in Russia.
As was pointed out, the High Commissioner's tour is not connected with the recent wave of nationalism in Western Ukraine. Meanwhile, Lviv City Council has introduced a moratorium on re-translating and performing Russian-language songs in all public spaces in the city.
The city's authorities were pushed to introduce these hardline measures after the violent killing of the popular folk composer Ihor Bilozir (see previous news reviews), which was followed by demands from Ukrainian radical organisations to ban the public use of the Russian language and Russian language productions in the region.
The moratorium will be in force until the adoption of necessary regulations on the protection of the audio environment. A draft of such regulations is expected to be ready on 1 August.
These actions taken by Ukrainian local authorities, together with the open demonstration of the "Russophobe" mood of the majority of regional parties and organizations, has resulted in a wave of protest in Russian media.
"Threatened" Russian inhabitants of Lviv have temporarily become a major topic in Russian newspapers, TV programs and on Internet sites.
Union more alive than dead
On Tuesday, the latest meeting of the high Commonwealth of Independent States' (CIS) authorities began. The major economic task of the meeting is going to be the creation of a free-trade zone within CIS territories. The summit was opened by the meeting of the Council of Prime Ministers, followed by the meeting of Presidents.
Agreements reached during these meetings have received different evaluations from different participant states, with some states suggesting that no agreements have been made at all.
The free-trade zone caused the
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The major problem with the so-called "list of exclusions" - groups of products and goods which cannot be covered by the free trade agreement - has also not been solved during the meeting.
On the other hand, in order to underline the validity and viability of the Union of Independent States, another important decision has been made: an anti-terrorist centre for CIS countries will be created.
However, Ukraine is only prepared to sign up to this document only on certain conditions: if co-operation within the centre is not in contradiction to national legislation, and only after the program is ratified by the national parliament.
Natalya Krasnoboka, 23 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