In comparison with neighboring Russia, Ukraine has had a relatively quite summer. The break from political life has been interrupted only once by the arrest of Olexandr Tymoshenko, a member of the board of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine Corporation. The arrest of this businessman is not seen as an extraordinary event in modern Ukrainian life.
However, Tymoshenko is not only a businessman but also the husband of Yuliya Tymoshenko, vice prime minister of the current Cabinet. It is difficult to give a prove whether the arrest of Olexandr Tymoshenko is in any way connected with his wife's job.
Together with Valery Falkovych, first deputy general director of the corporation, Tymoshenko is officially accused of embezzling USD 800 000 in public funds through the export of rolled metal to Asia during the 1990s.
On her part, Yulia Tymoshenko blames her political rivals for the action taken against her husband. She sees the fear and anger of her opponents, because of her constant desire and efforts to stop corruption in Ukraine's energy sector, as the main reason behind his arrest.
The story took on a new course on Friday when Deputy Chief Prosecutor Mykola Obykhod accused the corporation of illegally transferring more than USD 1.1 billion abroad. More fuel was added to the fire by the release of information that up to USD 100 million was sent to the accounts of former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who is still waiting for the final verdict from the American and Swiss courts on the matter of corruption during his time in the Cabinet of Ministers.
This information not only etablishes clear links between Olexandr Tymoshenko and the disgraced ex-Prime Minister, but between Lazarenko and Yulia Tymoshenko as well. At the time of the illegal transactions mentioned by the prosecutor, Yulia Tymoshenko was head of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine Corporation.
Further developments are expected to follow soon. From now on, it is difficult to draw any conclusions or take information presented by the prosecutors for granted.
Only one thing is clear: Yulia Tymoshenko, who will possibly be supported by Prime Minister Yuschenko, some other members of the Cabinet and her own political party Batkivschyna (Fatherland), is not going to give up on her husband's arrest nor with the accusations against herself.
Defencelessly facing eco-disaster
The nuclear heritage of Chernobyl reminded Ukraine of its unsolved problems. Nine rooms of the sarcophagus, which covers the damaged fourth block of the reactor, are filled with water. Officials say water has been coming in under the sarcophagus since its construction.
However, heavy rains during the last six months have seen water course in at more than twice the normal amount. At the same time, official sources of information confirm that the radioactivity levels in the water coming out of the shelter do not exceed permitted norms.
Mykolayiv Oblast, in the south of the country, has become the center for the spread of an unknown toxic dermatitis. The poisoning which targeted five villages of the Oblast is non-infectious and non-allergic.
However, since the beginning of July, about 330 people, including 170 children, have been hospitalized with the symptoms of this disease, and new victims are still appearing. People suffer from "...rashes, drowsiness, loss of appetite and an impairment of their sight," Radio Free Europe reports.
Health officials have identified the soil as the source of the poisoning and have suggested that the major reason for the disease's spread is the remains of liquid rocket fuel, which had been left by the armed forces dislocated from the region.
The Ukrainian government has formed a commission to investigate the cause of the mass poisoning. President Kuchma took the situation in the region under his personal control. On Saturday, one of the specially designed graves with polluted technological remains of military activities had to be open and analyzed. By doing so, specialists expected to confirm or disapprove the "military" version of the pollution.
Natalya Krasnoboka, 2 September 2000
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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