30.04.05. NATO og Ukraine efter Vilnius (eng.)
25.04.05. Forsvarsminister fastholder aftale om Sortehavsflåden
25.04.05. President Yushchenko coments on Ukrainian-Russian relations
25.04.05. Jusjtjenko som en ukrainsk Gorbatjov? (eng.)
25.04.05. Russia becomes haven for those feeling Ukrainian justice
22.04.05. USA bevilger ekstra 60 mill. dollars til Ukraine
21.04.05. Ukraine i venteposition efter aftale mellem NATO og Rusland
21.04.05. Putins parti skal samarbejde med Jusjtjenkos parti
21.04.05. Indenrigsministeren på besøg hos Lukashenko i Hviderusland
21.04.05. Udenlandske investorer ser optimistisk på Ukraine (eng.)
21.04.05. Kyiv kan blive det nye Prag (eng.)
16.04.05. Uenighed mellem Tymoshenko og Jusjtjenko-støtter
15.04.05. Ingen beslutning om Ukraine på NATO-møde
13.04.05. Udenrigsministeriet betegner Putin-citat som absurd
12.04.05. Janukovytj-støtte står til 12 års fængsel for ejendomstyveri
11.04.05. Jusjtjenko blandt de 100 mest indflydelsesrige i verden
11.04.05. Det internationale Melodigrandprix bliver orange
11.04.05. Jusjtjenko beskyldes for at indføre diktatur i Ukraine
09.04.05. President Bush welcomes President Yushchenko to the White House
09.04.05. Ukraine: Is Kyiv set to become a close U.S. ally?
09.04.05. Joint Statement by George W. Bush and Viktor Yushchenko
09.04.05. Billeder fra Viktor Jusjtjenkos besøg i Washington
08.04.05. Lytvyn bliver overvåget og hans telefoner bliver aflyttet
08.04.05. Kutjma: umuligt at blive medlem af EU før end om 10-15 år
07.04.05. Visumfrihed for EU-borgere ved rejse til Ukraine
05.04.05. Mordsag på vej til at blive opklaret
05.04.05. Bush: Jusjtjenko inspirerer alle dem, som elsker frihed
05.04.05. NATO åbner døren for ukrainsk medlemskab
President Viktor Yushchenko responds to a standing ovation from Vice President Dick Cheney and congressional members shortly before addressing a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2005. President Yuschenko met with President Bush earlier this week. White House photo by David Bohrer.
Viktor Yushchenko with President George W. Bush at the White House
President Viktor Yushchenko & President George W. Bush with First Ladies Kateryna Chumachenko-Yushchenko & Laura Bush at the White House. Including Yushchenko, 92 leaders or dignitaries representing 47 countries and kingdoms have addressed joint meetings of Congress since the first address by the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general and Revolutionary War hero, on 10 December 1824. Photo: Reuters
speech to American legislators, which was the culmination of the
Ukrainian president's visit to the United States, aroused enormous
interest. Except for Czech President Vaclav Havel, no other Eastern
European politician, including the Russian leader, has had the honor of
appearing before the two houses of Congress. Meanwhile, the statements
of Yushchenko's team are evidence that the honeymoon in relations
between Kyiv and Washington cannot help but affect Russian-Ukrainian
NATO's generalsekretær Jaap de Hoop Scheffer sagde i mandags, at den transatlantiske alliance fører de åbne døres politik i forhold til Ukraine, hvor de provestlige reformatorer sidste år afsatte det pro-russiske regime. Det sagde han på en pressekonference i Japan i mandags, oplyser Turkishpress.
"Hvis Ukraine har disse ambitioner, så er mit svar, at NATO fører de åbne døres politik", sagde de Hoop Scheffer. "Hvis Ukraine åbenlyst bekender sig til sine ambitioner om at blive medlem af NATO, vil NATO tage meget alvorligt mod disse ambitioner", sagde han.
Desuden sagde generalsekretæren, at Ukraine er en særlig partner for NATO, og at han har tænkt sig snart at drøfte spørgsmålet om det med Ukraines udenrigsminister Borys Tarasyuk.
Meningsmålinger i Ukraine viser, at 48% af de adspurgte er imod et medlemskab af NATO, mens kun 15% svarede "ja" til et medlemskab, og hele 36% var i tvivl om, hvad de skulle svare.
Samtidig har den amerikanske avis The Washington Times i sin artikel "Jusjtjenko vil bede Bush om at blive optaget i NATO", skrevet, at præsident Jusjtjenko under sit besøg i USA "vil forsøge at opnå støtte til sit lands bestræbelser på at komme ind i NATO og andre internationale organisationer".
"I Washington vil Jusjtjenko forsøge at opnå støtte til Ukraines bestræbelser på at træde ind i Verdenshandelsorganisationen og NATO og ophæve de sanktioner, som blev indført for tre årtier siden i forhold til det allerede ikke eksisterende USSR", hedder det i artiklen. UP.
USA's præsident, George W. Bush, siger i forbindelse med den ukrainske præsidents besøg i Washington, at han ikke er bekymret for Viktor Jusjtjenkos planer om at trække de ukrainske soldater ud af Irak. Det sagde han på mandagens møde med Jusjtjenko i Det hvide Hus i Washington, skriver Associated Press.
Bush bød Jusjtjenko velkommen i Washington og sagde, at det ukrainske valg blev en bekræftelse på demokratiets fremgang i verden og lovede at medvirke til en styrkelse af de handelsmæssige og økonomiske forbindelser med Ukraine.
Bush sagde, at han støttede Ukraines bestræbelser på at blive medlem af WTO og, at han ville medvirke til at få ophævet de handelsmæssige begrænsninger fra USA's side, oplyser Bloomberg.
"De er en ven af vores land og en inspiration for alle dem, som elsker frihed", sagde Bush i mandags på en pressekonference efter mødet. Han betegnede de orange revolution, som førte til Jusjtjenkos magtovertagelse for "et eksempel på demokrati for alle folk i hele verden".
Som forventet vil Jusjtjenko i sin tale til Kongressens to kamre anmode om en ophævelse af Jackson-Vennick tilføjelsen for så vidt angår Ukraine. Bush sagde, at han støtter Jusjtjenkos holdning. Jusjtjenko kvitterede ved at sige, at Ukraines idealer er demokrati, frihed for massemedierne, markedsøkonomi og sociale garantier.
"Kort sagt har Ukraine de samme idealer, som den vestlige civilisation bekender sig til", - sagde Jusjtjenko. Ifølge den ukrainske præsident bekræfter den fælles erklæring mellem ham og George Bush efter forhandlingerne i Washington "den nye æra i det strategiske partnerskab mellem vore to stater".
Viktor Jusjtjenko betegnede sin forhandlinger med George Bush som "åbne og produktive. Ifølge Jusjtjenko drejede hans forhandlinger med Bush om spørgsmål om "en styrkelse af vores bilaterale forbindelser", oplyser Novyny-Ukrajiny.
Ukraines ambassade i Danmark oplyser, at Ukraines præsident ved dekret nr. 569/2005 af den 31. marts 2005 har besluttet, at borgere i Kongeriget Danmark såvel som i andre lande i Den europæiske Union samt Schweiz ikke behøver at købe indrejsevisa ved besøg i Ukraine i perioden fra den 1. maj 2005 til den 1. september 2005.
Ukraines tidligere præsident Leonid Kutjma mener, at Ukraine er i
sin gode ret til at ønske at blive medlem af Den europæiske Union, men
han anser det for "komplet umuligt" at blive optaget de
nærmeste 10-15 år. Det siger Kutjma til
Ekspræsidenten fremhæver blandet andet, at "europæerne og amerikanerne er meget pragmatiske mennesker. De regner det hele ud". "De vil med sikkerhed analysere de konkrete skridt og lave konsekvensberegninger i stedet for at gå ud fra en politisk eller revolutionær hensigtsmæssighed. I de kommende 10-15 år er det aldeles umuligt for Ukraine at blive medlem af Eurounionen. Det vil under ingen omstændigheder ske. Derfor bør vi selv nå op deres levestandarder. Og så får vi se...", fremhæver Kutjma, som mener, at det ville være bedst, hvis Ukraine ikke ansøgte om EU-medlemskab, men selv blev inviteret indenfor.
"Når alt kommer til alt, så er Ukraine i sin fulde ret til at lægge billet ind til en plads under solen. Men Ukraine får ikke denne plads i den nærmeste fremtid. Jeg vil endnu engang gentage denne sandhed, så den kan gå op for alle: i dag kan vi ikke være med i EU af den simple grund, at vi ganske enkelt overhovedet ikke er konkurrencedygtige. Hvis vi et øjeblik forestillede os, at vi var optaget i unionen, så vil jeg gerne spørge jer om, hvordan vores produktion ville klare konkurrencen på det europæiske marked? Følgerne er jo klare nok", sagde ekspræsidenten.
Samtidig bør man efter Kutjmas opfattelse holde op med deklarere det, som allerede er vores strategi. Vi har jo allerede besluttet, at vi skal bevæge sig ad den europæiske vej. Nu har vi brug for nogle konkrete skridt.
"Hvis vi ikke på det økonomiske plan opnår det nødvendige niveau for BNP pr. capita og som følge deraf alle mulige andre goder for mennesker, er der ingen der vil snakke med os. Det er meget simpelt. Det europæiske fællesskab er ikke i stand til at "male", hvis man kan bruge den talemåde, et så stort land som Ukraine. Man bør forstå dem. Vi irriterer dem simpelthen med alle disse overflødige erklæringer".
"Er vi måske kommet op med noget nyt?", spørger Kutjma. Vi kan komme med nok så mange erklæringer, men den handlingsplan "Ukraine-EU", som er underskrevet i år, baserede sig på sidste års aftaler indgået under topmødet "Ukraine-EU", som jeg umiddelbart tog del i".
Kutjma er også overbevist om, at "når man har vundet ved at påberåbe sig de demokratiske værdier, så bør det også udmøntes i det reelle liv. Ikke ved at nogle embedsmænd siger, at nu er der demokrati; men så alle forstår, at det virkeligt er blevet lettere at trække vejret i Ukraine for alt og alle, herunder i økonomien". UP.
Parlamentsformand Volodymyr Lytvyn siger, at han har beviser for, at overvågningen af ham ikke er stoppet, og at hans telefoner bliver aflyttet. "Det, som finder sted her, er en politisk afstraffelse. Her tænker jeg på aflytningen, fordi en eller anden forsøger at bevise, at han har ret, og for at undgå at stå til ansvar", siger han.
"Jeg kunne have sagt meget mere, men den tid skal nok komme, hvor jeg vil sige om holdningen til parlamentsmedlemmerne, om aflytningen m.v. Og jeg vil bruge mig selv som eksempel for at bevise alle disse påstande. Hvad er det for en stat, som tillader noget sådant i forhold til formanden for landets parlament", spurgte Lytvyn.
Han appellerede til de folkevalgte om at bevare det tillidspotentiale, som Verkhovna Rada har. I dag er tilliden til parlamentet større end nogensinde. Det samme gælder styret som sådan".
"Lad os vise, at vi er Verkhovna Rada, og lad os holde op med at gnide os i hænderne af skadefryd, når der er nogle andre, som får problemer. Vi har i dag brug for at stå sammen og være principielt objektive", opfordrede formanden parlamentsmedlemmerne.
Han er overbevist om, at de folkevalgte "ikke skal nøjes med at blive forarget, hvis parlamentet har en objektive holdning, men også vedtage forslag og træffe beslutninger". UP.
A New Century Agenda for the Ukrainian-American Strategic Partnership: Joint Statement by President George W. Bush and President Viktor Yushchenko
Today, the United States and Ukraine affirm a new era of strategic partnership between our nations and friendship between our peoples. We commit our nations to working together to advance freedom and security grounded in democratic principles and institutions, which form the founda tion of our relationship.
We salute the people of Ukraine who claimed their right to elect freely their leadership. Their brave stand was a victory for democracy inspiring those throughout the world who yearn for freedom and dignity in the face of tyranny, isolation and oppression. The territorial integrity, security, and political and economic transformation of Ukraine are essential to building a Europe whole, free and at peace. We will work together to strengthen democratic institutions in Ukraine and to advance freedom in Europe, its neighborhood and beyond.
We will work to defeat terrorism wherever it occurs and to advance economic development, democratic reforms and peaceful settlement of regional disputes. We are grateful to the men and women of those nations who have served and sacrificed for Iraqi freedom. Today, we pledge ourselves anew to assist the Iraqi people to secure liberty, peace and prosperity, a nd we join our efforts to assist Iraq in its economic reconstruction. Fear and resentment, the breeding ground of terrorism, must be replaced with freedom and hope.
We also commit to work together to back reform, democracy, tolerance and respect for all communities, and peaceful resolution of conflicts in Georgia and Moldova, and to support the advance of freedom in countries such as Belarus and Cuba. Citizens in our open societies value the freedom to practice their faiths, and we are committed to promoting religious tolerance globally.
As Ukraine undertakes far-reaching reform at home, it can count on the United States for support. We applaud Ukraine's commitment to curb corruption, promote the rule of law and improve the business climate. Progress on reforms will allow Ukraine to realize its aspirations to move closer to, and ultimately join European, Euro-Atlantic and international institutions.
We will further integrate Ukraine into the world economy and promote investment and trade between our two countries. As a first step, the Ukrainian Government seeks expeditious U.S. recognition as a market economy. We agree to continue our close cooperation to ensure a process that recognizes the evolution of Ukraine's economy.
We are committed to working together to achieve Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). For its part, the Ukrainian Government will seek to secure, on an urgent basis, approval of legislation and enact regulations that will facilitate accession and contribute to lasting economic reform, including in agriculture, manufacturing, services and the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The United States and Ukraine are committed to working together to complete our bilateral negotiations for Ukraine's accession to the WTO in 2005. We will also cooperate on the outstanding multilateral wo rk that must be concluded for Ukraine's WTO accession. We also support immediately ending application of Jackson-Vanik to Ukraine.
The United States supports Ukraine's NATO aspirations and is prepared to help Ukraine achieve its goals by providing assistance with challenging reforms. The United States supports an offer of an Intensified Dialogue on membership issues with Ukraine at the meeting of Alliance Foreign Ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania later this month. Our cooperation will also deepen through the U.S.-led, largest-ever NATO trust fund to destroy obsolete and excess weaponry.
We are initiating an energy dialogue to cooperate in the restructuring and reform of Ukraine's energy sector to encourage investment, diversify Ukraine's nergy supplies, reduce its energy dependence, bolster commercial competition in urasian energy sectors and promote nuclear safety. To advance this dialogue, we re establishing an Energy consulta tive mechanism between our Energy Ministries. Uited States Secretary of Energy Bodman will travel to Ukraine in the near uture to initiate the consultative mechanism and to promote our energy and onproliferation cooperation.
Building on our cooperation through the G-8 Global Partnership, the Cooperative hreat Reduction Program and the Proliferation Security Initiative, we pledge to bgin a new chapter in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass estruction and their means of delivery. We will deepen our cooperation on onproliferation, export controls, border security and law enforcement to deter, detect, interdict, investigate and prosecute illicit trafficking of these weapons and related materials; enhance the security of nuclear and radiological sources; and dispose of spent nuclear fuel. We also agree on the importance of addressing the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles. In this regard, we will explore how we can work together on missile defense, including beginning negotiations on a framework to facilitate such cooperation and closer industry-to-industry collaboration.
The security and stability of nations increasingly depends on the health, well-being and prosperity of their citizens. We therefore commit to cooperate on a broad agenda of social and humanitarian issues, including halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB; fighting the scourge of organized crime, trafficking in persons and child pornography; and completing the Chornobyl Shelter Implementation Plan. To help complete the Chornobyl Shelter, the United States will provide an additional $45 million to the Shelter Fund. Ukraine will also provide an additional financial contribution and facilitate prompt completion of the Shelter. U.S. assistance to Ukraine will particularly focus on solidifying democratic advances through anti-corruption and rul e of law programs, media and NGO development, nonpartisan party and election monitor training and other steps to improve electoral institutions and practices.
We also support a bold expansion of contact between our societies. To this end, Ukraine will eliminate visa requirements for Americans, and the United States will reduce visa fees for Ukrainians. We aim to enhance citizen exchanges, training opportunities and cooperation between business communities of both countries.
We commit our two nations to stand together as global partners for freedom, security and prosperity in the 21st century.
By Valentinas Mite
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday continued his official visit to the United States. The new Ukrainian leader has already held talks with U.S. President George W. Bush, and is due to meet over the next several days with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. On Wednesday, Yushchenko is scheduled to address both houses of Congress, and honor reserved only for America's closest allies? Just how close are the U.S. and Ukraine getting?
Prague, 5 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- It was no doubt a disappointment for Washington when Kyiv opted to pull its troops out of Iraq.
But relations between the United States and the new Ukraine administration appear to be improving rapidly.
Stuart Hensel of the Economist Intelligence Unit notes that former President Leonid Kuchma was in charge when Ukraine decided to send troops into Iraq -- but it was not enough to ingratiate himself with the United States.
"Mr. Kuchma was never in a strong enough position to ever get an invitation to come to the White House," Hensel says. "Given the scandals that arose during his second term, even sending troops to Iraq was not enough for Mr. Bush to actually invite him to come to visit Washington, D.C."
Kuchma sent 1,600 troops to Iraq, making it the fourth-largest contributor to the U.S.-led campaign. But ties between Washington and Kyiv cooled after allegations that Ukraine had supplied radar systems to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime in 2000.
Hensel says Ukraine's new westward-looking policy has done much to foster closer ties between Washington and Kyiv.
During talks yesterday, Bush promised to help Ukraine move closer to the West.
The U.S. president backed Ukraine's ambitions of joining NATO and the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also vowed to lift the Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions that were first imposed on the Soviet Union in 1974 and remain active regarding some former Soviet republics.
Some analysts say it is still too early to predict how close U.S.-Ukrainian ties will get.
Igor Losev, a professor at Kyiv's Mohyla Academy, says Ukraine has made clear its wish to become a close Washington ally.
But he says it remains to be seen whether Bush will deliver on the promises made during his talks with Yushchenko.
"The moves [the United States] are taking are still rather modest," Losev says. "We will see if the Jackson-Vanik amendment that applies to Ukraine will be lifted. We still have to see if Ukraine will be recognized as a country with a functioning market economy and if the United States will help Ukraine to join the World Trade Organization."
Losev also cautions that stronger ties with Ukraine could damage U.S. relations with Russia. Washington might not be willing to risk colder ties with Moscow for the sake of honoring obligations to Kyiv.
Ukrainian officials might have some doubts of their own about a U.S. partnership. Many Ukrainians harbor an ambiguous attitude toward the United States, and it could be hard for Yushchenko to convince his public of the benefits of a new U.S. friendship.
Oleksandr Sushko is the director of the Center for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy, a Kyiv-based research center.
"The broader public has some kind of suspicion towards the USA, which they see as a superpower that meddles in the political life of many regions of the world," Sushko says.
Sushko says this opinion is enhanced by the stereotypes remaining from the Soviet past, when the United States was considered an imperialist enemy. In many instances, he says, Ukrainians still prefer closer ties with Russia.
"Russia is an old partner and a country with whom we have very close, old ties," Sushko says. "America is something very far away -- something that is very often difficult to understand."
Still, Sushko says, anti-American sentiment is not particularly virulent in Ukraine. He says Ukrainians maintain much the same skepticism toward the U.S. as their European neighbors to the west.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you. It's an honor to stand with a courageous leader of a free Ukraine. Mr. President, you are a friend to our country and you are an inspiration to all who love liberty. Welcome to America, and we're pleased to welcome your wife, as well. We're looking forward to having lunch with you.
President Yushchenko was the first head of state I called after my inaugural address. I told him that the Orange Revolution was a powerful example -- an example of democracy for people around the world. I was impressed, I know millions of my fellow citizens were impressed by the brave citizens who gathered in Kyiv's Independence Square and rightly demanded that their voices be heard. It's an impressive moment, Mr. President, and an important moment. I've oftentimes told our fellow citizens that the world is changing, freedom is spreading -- and I use Ukraine as an example, along with Afghanistan and Iraq, about a changing world. A world, by the way, changing for the better, because we believe free societies will be peaceful societies.
Mr. President, I appreciate your vision. I want to thank you for our discussion we just had. We discussed a lot of matters. We talked about the neighborhood, of course. We talked about your commitment to fighting corruption; your deep desire to introduce principles of the marketplace in Ukraine. I told the President that our nation will stand by Ukraine as it strengthens law enforcement, as it fights corruption, as it promotes a free media and civil society organizations. To this end, I've asked Congress to provide $60 million for new funding to help you in your efforts, Mr. President.
We also agree with your desire to join the WTO, and we'll work with your government to join the WTO, as well as to lift the Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions that were created in a different era. Secretary Sam Bodman, who is with us here, will be going to Ukraine to talk about cooperation on energy. We look forward to working with you, Mr. President, as you build progress at home to become a part of Europe -- a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. And at the same time, we'll continue to work with you to help your ties to the North Atlantic Alliance.
Mr. President, I want to thank you for being an active partner in the war on terror. Our statement reflects our common desire to cooperate on law enforcement matters, our desire to have export controls to prevent the spread of dangerous weapons technology, including nuclear materials, MANPADs, and ballistic missiles.
I appreciate Ukraine's strong commitment to a free Iraq. Ukrainian troops helped to protect the Iraqi people during the elections this January. I look forward to cooperating with your nation to help the Iraqis build a peaceful society.
We share a goal to spread freedom to other nations. I mean, after all, the Orange Revolution may have looked like it was only a part of the Ukrainian -- the history of Ukraine, but the Orange Revolution represented revolutions elsewhere, as well. And I look forward to working with you, Mr. President, in places like Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan. I want to thank you for your conversation on Moldova. I appreciate the discussion we had on -- about Belarus.
All in all, Mr. President, we're really thrilled you're here. I know our Congress is looking forward to having you address them next Wednesday. In the meantime, I want to thank you for our frank and open discussion. We wish you all the best, and in America, you've got a strong friend. Welcome.
PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO: (As translated.) Mr. President, dear American friends, for me, for my wife, it is a great honor and privilege to be received here in the White House and to hear the words that are addressed to my country, my nation, my homeland.
Our ideals are simple and eternal: We want democracy and freedom -- our apparent European aspirations, which we were discussing from the first days, many days before the Maidan events when me and my team went into the politics. This is my vision; this is the vision shared by my team. This is something that my father taught me.
The legacy that we inherited is a very difficult country; Ukraine, where the rule of law did not exist and human rights were not observed; where half of the national economy is a shadow. The humiliated profession of journalism, the journalists wanted to speak the truth and stood against the official power, they could pay dearly. Dearly -- I mean it -- they could pay their lives for it. We're talking about the country where the number one problem remains to be corruption. We're talking about the country where the huge problem remains the problem of poverty. We realize all those challenges. We realize that it's only -- the work that has to be done by the Ukrainian power will help cope with the problems that the country inherited.
However, it is very important, Mr. President, to feel that we have partners standing by, that we are not left in solitude in coping with these troubles. Our conversation began with my saying that, for Ukraine, it was a very long road to the Oval Office. I do appreciate the attention that you display and the words that you have said. And I would like to, once again, reiterate that the ideals of Ukraine are democracy, which we perceive as the priority of people's interests in political, economic and other areas of development. These are freedom of speech that are the oxygen for democracy, this is a market economy which grants equal rights to people, this is the reliable system of social guarantees that secure protection to the weak.
Shortly speaking, the ideals for the new Ukraine are the ideals shared by the Western civilization. I fully concur with my American colleague in his saying that the freedom is not the gift for America, this is the Godly gift.
Today, Mr. President, we had a very frank and productive discussion on a very broad spectrum of issues. We were talking about the approaches to deepening our bilateral relations -- and this conversation is far from finalization; about the role that democratic Ukraine can play in the regional and global stability; the problem of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other subjects.
Essentially, on all questions that we raised, we found mutual understanding. I am convinced that relations between our nations are based not only by mutual sympathy, but also by the unity of interests and ideals, like the rule of law, protection of fundamental human rights and respect for people. Majority of my fellow Ukrainians want to see America as their strategic partner, and I am pleased to see that the U.S. President shares this perception, and he has highlighted this support today.
In our joint statement, which we agreed on, based on our negotiations, we have made it clear that Ukraine and the U.S. confirm the new era in the strategic partnership between our nations and the friendship between our peoples. We are looking forward to the effective support from the U.S. administration to the new government of Ukraine in addressing important issues faced by ourselves, including our accession to WTO at the end of 2005, the lifting of the trade sanctions on Ukrainian-exported goods, Ukraine's accession to European and Euro-Atlantic security alliances.
We have a unique opportunity to write new and historical pages in the chronicle of our relations to create the new agenda of real and contentful U.S., American strategic partnership. The democratic Ukraine will enhance stability in Europe and worldwide. And strategic partnership with the U.S. will augment the democratic Ukraine. I'm convinced that our two nations will stand by as global partners in order to achieve freedom, security and prosperity in the 21st century.
I thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: We'll answer two questions a side. Terry Hunt.
Q Ukraine and Italy and other allies will withdraw their forces from Iraq. Why should the United States continue to pay most of the cost and suffer most of the casualties when our allies are leaving?
THE PRESIDENT: Our strategy in Iraq is clear, and it's a common strategy that our coalition has agreed to, and that is to train Iraqi soldiers, Iraqi security forces, so that they can do the hard work of securing their country. And that's what's happening. And I appreciate the contribution that the Ukrainian people have made toward liberating Iraq and helping provide stability in Iraq and providing security for the elections of Iraq.
And the President made clear to me in my first conversation with him that there -- that he campaigned on the idea of bringing some troops out. He's fulfilling a campaign pledge, I fully understand that. But he also has said that he's going to cooperate with the coalition, in terms of -- in terms of further withdrawals, and I appreciate that.
The fundamental question is, is it worth it? And the answer is, absolutely it's worth it for a free Iraq to emerge. We're talking about a part of the world in which, you know, our foreign policy was, let's just hope for the best and tolerate the fact there's no free societies. And what ended up happening was, there was a -- tyrants have emerged, tyrants that threatened our security. And so not only was the action worth it, the action is worth it to make sure that democracy exists, and because democracies will yield peace, and that's what we want.
And so we're going to continue to press forward with a strategy that supports the elected government of Iraq. Today I spoke to the new Speaker of the Transitional Assembly. I wished him all the best. I thanked him for stepping up to take a leadership role. I look forward to working with the new President and Prime Minister. And I look forward to continuing to implement a strategy that will help Iraqis self-govern. And we're making progress toward that goal. And I want to thank the Ukrainians for their support.
Q Mr. President, did you hear a clear position of Ukraine concerning its participation in NATO? And is America ready to support Ukraine in joining the Membership Action Plan this year? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you very much. Well, you know, the first time I met the President was at NATO, during my latest trip to Europe. And my conversation with him there was the same as I had here, and that is there is a way forward in order to become a partner of the United States and other nations in NATO. It is a path and we want to help Ukraine get on that path as quickly as possible. It is not a given. In other words, there are things that the Ukrainian government must do in order to satisfy the requirements to be considered for NATO.
And we want to help -- the whole purpose of this meeting and the purpose of the previous meeting was to help the Ukrainian government to understand that which is necessary to do in order to become more likely accepted into NATO, and that's what we want to do. We want to help in this process. And I think it's -- I'm a supporter of the idea of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. I think it's important.
I also know that Ukraine wants to join the EU, and there's things that have to do with the EU. But I do want to assure the Ukrainian people that you don't have to choose between the EU and friendship with the United States. That's not a choice the United States government will make our friends make. You can be both a member of the EU and a friend of the United States. And so we want to help your government make the difficult decisions and difficult choices necessary to become available for membership in NATO.
Q Thank you. How do you think this Pope has affected America's spiritual and political life? And how much weight did you give to his opposition to the Iraq war?
THE PRESIDENT: First, Laura and I are looking forward to leading a delegation to honor the Holy Father. He will go down in history as a -- he will show people that one man can make a difference in people's lives. He's a courageous person; he's a moral person; he was a Godly person. And he's had huge influence, Steve, not only amongst, for example, young people in America, but around the world. One of his great legacies will be the influence he had on the young.
He spoke to the poor; he spoke to morality. And of course, he was a man of peace. And he didn't like war, and I fully understood that and I appreciated the conversations I had with the Holy Father on the subject.
I remember going to Castel Gandolfo -- Laura and I were there, and I can remember him taking us out on the balcony of this fabulous palace overlooking a magnificent lake, and talking about his views of the world. It was a moment I'll never forget during my presidency.
And so the world will miss him. And it is my great honor, on behalf of our country, to express our gratitude to the Almighty for such a man. And of course, we look forward to the majesty of celebrating such a significant human life.
Q I have a question for both Presidents, but primarily for Mr. Yushchenko. What will be the American-Ukrainian cooperation in Iraq after the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops? And could you please give some details?
PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO: (As translated.) First of all, I would like to indicate that Iraq is a zone of Ukrainian interest, and, therefore, when this question was debated in the Ukrainian parliament, the majority of the parliament members spoke in favor of this type of Ukrainian presence in the country.
Another point, which I'm most pleased to indicate is, in my opinion, the Ukrainian contingent has demonstrated its peace-making mission in a very effective manner. Over the short period of time that our military contingent has been deployed there, we have retrained three battalions of the national armed forces of Iraq, two companies. We have examined in our hospital about 5,000 local citizens. Due to the securing stability in this region, we returned about 1,500 people to their jobs because it has become much safer to travel to their work places.
Beginning from the 9th of January, in our region, there is not a single incident in our area, and we, therefore, believe that it is precisely in this region where the works aimed at restoration of the infrastructure of the province where we had deployed, because there is no water nor other amenities, elementary amenities. And there now these restoration works could be commenced. This will be a very vivid example of how success can be ensured by pursuing peacemaking policy.
We stand for -- we remain arguing that Ukraine is committed to pursuing training -- retraining programs for the national guard of Iraq to the armed forces of Iraq. We are prepared to share the experience and the material on a mutually beneficial basis to make sure that this order remains. It is my deep conviction that momentum has been created when Ukraine and diplomats, businesspeople and politicians must do what Ukrainian peacemakers started. Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: As to what happens over time, that's going to depend on the Iraqi government. We're dealing with an elected government. And they will make the decision as to the security relationship, they'll make the decision as to how the country rewards contracts for reconstruction. This is a free country, and in free countries, governments get to decide -- sovereign governments decide their future. And so we look forward to working with the new government. As you know, it's a process. The Transitional Assembly will be writing a constitution, and when the constitution is written, it'll be ratified. And upon ratification, there will be another election.
And so we look forward to working with the interim government and we look forward to working with the government that gets elected in December, all aimed at helping Iraq develop into a free-standing, peaceful country -- which is in the interests of our children and grandchildren, by the way.
I also want to say something about Lebanon. Syria -- I appreciate that fact that Syria has expressed its intent to fully leave that country, that only -- that not only means troops, but it means security forces, as far as I'm concerned. When they say, we're going to leave the country, we expect troops and security forces to leave. And, secondly, it's important for this election to take place on time. And we look forward to continuing to work with our friends and allies to make sure Lebanon is truly free.
Mr. President, thank you, sir, let's go have lunch. Appreciate it.
Den tidligere premierminister Viktor Janukovytj siger, at hvis styret ikke indleder en dialog med oppositionen omkring anholdelsen af formanden for Donetsks regionalråd Borys Kolesnykov, vil han tage radikale midler i brug som fx at blokere for transporten og organisere en landsdækkende ukrainsk strejkekomite.
"Hvis styret ikke indleder en dialog med os, og hvis styret fortsætter undertrykkelsen og forfølgelsen af vores meningsfæller, så vil bringe sagen op på allerhøjeste plan", sagde han under et besøg på markedet "Travnevyj" i Donetsk i går. Janukovytj sagde også, at Regionernes Parti vil henvende sig til OSCE og Havier Solana i forbindelse med overtrædelsen af menneskerettighederne.
"I næste uge vil vi henvende os til denne højtstående gruppe, som har optrådt som garanter for demokratiet i Ukraine. Det er både Havier Solana og OSCE's repræsentanter m.v.", sagde Janukovytj, som citeres af avisen Ostrov.
Ifølge Janukovytj vil oppositionen "kræve", at Ukraine får besøg af internationale observatører ikke alene fra Europa; men også fra SNG". Den tidligere premierminister siger, at partiet "allerede har henvendt sig til de internationale menneskerettighedsorganisationer". Men har indtil videre ikke fået nogle svar". Han tilføjer, at han vil forsvare Kolesnykovs frihed med alle til rådighed stående politiske midler. Ifølge ham vil man fra begyndelsen af den kommende uge i Kiev begynde protestaktioner mod overtrædelsen af menneskerettighederne.
"I ved, at man reelt uden grund har anholdt formanden for Donetsks regionalråd. Desuden er levestandarden og produktionen nu også ved at falde, mens priserne vokser over hele linjen, herunder brændselspriserne", siger Janukovytj.
Den 8. april imødekom retten i Kievs Petjerskij distrikt rigsadvokaturens begæring om at forlænge varetægtsfængslingen af Kolesnykov, som blev anholdt den 6. april. Han var blevet tilsagt til rigsadvokaturen som vidne i sagen om en voldelig ændring af forfatningen i Ukraine. Herefter var Kolesnykov blevet anholdt af det ukrainske indenrigsministeriums bagmandspoliti på mistanke om afpresning.
Lørdag aften dukkede der i Kievs Marijinskij park en række telte op, som blev opstillet af tilrejsende fra Donetsk og Donetsk-regionen, som protesterer mod anholdelsen af Kolesnykov.
Ifølge 5. kanal var der i går otte telte med omkring 50 beboere i parken foran regeringsbygningen. Beboerne i teltlejren afventede efter eget udsagn forstærkninger fra Donetsk, Luhansk og andre af regionens byer.
I lørdags afholdt de tilrejsende fra Donetsk og
Donetsk-regionen et møde i Kiev til støtte for den anholdte formand
for Donetsks regionalråd. UP.
Det internationale Melodigrandprix skal efter arrangørernes plan finde sted på Uafhængighedspladsen i Kiev på en scene opbygget i stil med den, som blev benyttet under "den orange revolution". "Det ukrainske folk forstår, at det vil være mere prestigefyldt at se Melodigrandprix på Uafhængighedspladsen sammen med politikere og ukrainske sangere end i Sportspaladset sammen med de europæiske delegationer", siger formand for organisationskomiteen, Ukraines vice-premierminister Mykola Tomenko.
I onsdags meddelte vice-premierministerens pressetjeneste, at organisationskomiteen bakker op om Tomenkos ide om, at koncertscenen i stil skal minde om "den orange revolution", takket være hvilken hele verden lærte Ukraine at kende. Organisationskomiteens arbejdsgruppe vil henvende sig til Ukraines indenrigsministerium og Kievs bystyre med anmodning om at lukke al færdsel på hovedgaden Khresjtjatyk i dagene 18-22. maj i forbindelse med afholdelsen af Melodigrandprix. "Den centrale del af Kiev vil være totalt domineret af "Eurovision-2005", begrundede Tomenko. Derfor bør vi sørge for de bedst mulige betingelser for arrangementet".
Medlemmerne af organisationskomiteen hilser det også velkommen, at de lokale myndigheder rundt omkring i landet har besluttet, at der skal opbygges lignende scener, så folk lokalt kan følge den direkte transmission af Melodigrandprixet fra Kiev.
Det 50. internationale Melodigrandprix finder sted i Kiev i maj i år. Det var sangerinden Ruslana, der ved at vinde Melodigrandprix'et sidste år, sikrede sit land retten til at stå for dette års arrangement. RIA Novosti.
Ukraines præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko er havnet på listen over de 100 mest indflydelsesrige personer i verden, som er offentliggjort af det amerikanske tidsskrift "The Time", oplyser 5. kanal. Desuden vandt Jusjtjenko sammen med den åndelige tibetanske leder Dalai-lama og computermilliardæren Bill Gates indenfor kategorien "Helte og idoler".
Blandt de politiske ledere vandt USA's præsident George Bush, lederen af Nordkorea Kim Chen Ir, Israels premierminister Ariel Sharon og formanden for den palæstinensiske autonomi Mahmud Abbas. Desuden opnåede lederen af de irakiske terrorister Abu Musa az-Zarkawi også valg indenfor denne kategori. UP.
Formanden for Donetsk regionale råd, Borys Kolesnikov, er blevet tiltalt for forsøg på at overdrage fremmed ejendom med brug af mordtrusler.
Tiltalen er blevet rejst af rigsadvokaten for særligt vigtige anliggender i nærvær af Kolesnikovs advokat, Andrij Fedur, oplyser rigsadvokaturens pressetjeneste.
Kolesnikovs bliver beskyldt for at have begået den lovovertrædelse, som er omtalt i den ukrainske straffelovs § 4 stk. 189; nemlig en statslig embedsmands forsøg på at udnytte sit embede til at overdrage ejendom eller ejendomsret med brug af mordtrusler, hvilket medfører meget omfattende skader på ejendom.
Ifølge loven er strafferammen for forbrydelser af denne art mellem 7 og 20 år med samtidig beslaglæggelse af ejendommen, oplyser pressetjenesten.
Kolesnikov blev anholdt den 6. april. den 8. april imødekom retten i Kievs Petjersk-distrikt rigsadvokaturens begæring om at forlænge varetægtsfængslingen af ham. Den 14. april vil Kievs appeldomstol behandle et kæremål fra Kolesnikovs advokat Andrij Fedur vedrørende fristforlængelsen i distriktsretten.
Oppositionen betegner anholdelsen som en politisk hævnaktion. UP.
Ukraines udenrigsministerium betegner den russiske avis "Kommersants" oplysningen om, at Ruslands præsident skal have sammenlignet Ukraine med Tysklands deling som absurd.
Stedfortrædende pressechef i Ukraines udenrigsministerium, Dmytro Svistkov, sagde på en pressekonference i dag, at ministeriet er bekendt med artiklen i den russiske avis. Han sagde, at ministeriet for øjeblikket prøver at finde ud af, hvorvidt citatet er sandfærdigt gengivet.
Samtidig sagde Svistkov, at udenrigsministeriet tvivler på, at sådanne udtalelser fra Den russiske Føderations præsident er mulige, eftersom den information, som avisen har bragt "er fuldstændig absurd og ulogisk".
"Vi er overbevist om, at Den russiske Føderations præsident Volodymyr Putin udmærket ved, at der i Ukraine ikke lever en russisk befolkning, men derimod Ukraines statsborgere, og at de udgør en samlet stat", sagde Svistkov i en kommentar til citatet i "Kommersant".
Desuden understregede Svistkov, at det fortsat er uforståeligt, at hvad det for en adskillelse i Ukraine, der kan være tale om, og hvem der i den forbindelse skal forestille at være Østtyskland, som endnu ikke kan komme sig over sin totalitære fortid.
"Vi er overbevist om, at dem, som spreder denne slags rygter, ikke arbejder til gavn for det ukrainske og det russiske folk", sagde Svistkov.
Tirsdag sagde Putin i Hannover, at "hvis Ukraine kommer ind i Schengen-zonen, vil der opstå et problem. For i Ukraine lever der, som bekendt, mindst 17% russere". "Det er jo en deling af folket! Det minder om delingen af Tyskland i Øst og Vest!", tilføjede Putin. Liga, UP.
NATO's generalsekretær, Jaap de Goop Scheffer, afviser de ukrainske mediers oplysninger om, at Den nordatlantiske alliance allerede i næste uge vil foreslå Ukraine at blive medlem.
"Det skal man ikke forvente på et uformelt møde for NATO-landenes udenrigsministre i Vilnius (Litauen), sagde han i går til pressen ifølge radiostationen "Deutsche Welle".
Ifølge generalsekretæren vil der i løbet af mødet, som finder sted den kommende onsdag og torsdag, også blive plads til en samtale med de ukrainske kolleger.
"Vi vil selvfølgelig fremme relationerne mellem NATO og Ukraine. Vi vil indgå en aftale om en mere intensiv dialog. Men der vil ikke komme nogen beslutning om medlemskab. Det kan der ikke blive tale om endnu", påpegede Scheffer.
Ukraine og NATO har indgået en fælles "Handlingsplan". Den forudsætter, at Ukraine skal gennemføre en række reformer for at man kan påbegynde forhandlinger om en indtræden i NATO.
I går sagde den litauiske udenrigsminister Antanas Valjonis, at beslutningen om at byde Ukraine indenfor i NATO kan blive truffet allerede i indeværende måned. "I Vilnius er det kun Ukraine, der kan forvente en beslutning om at blive budt indenfor alliancen", sagde Valjonis. UP.
Premierminister Julia Tymoshenko afviser, at hun har tænkt sig at træde tilbage pga. uenighed med nogle af Viktor Jusjtjenkos nærmeste støtter.
"Jeg kan sige, at der er intet her på jorden, som kan tvinge mig til at smække med døren. Aldrig", siger Tymoshenko i et interview med ugebladet "Mirror Weekly". "Det er ikke et spørgsmål om ambitioner, men et spørgsmål om ansvar. I dag føler jeg et ansvar på hele styrets vegne for virkeliggørelsen af det, som folk forventede af os under revolutionen".
Tymoshenko lover, at "jeg vil være ved præsidentens side ligeså længe, som landet har brug for det". På spørgsmålet om, hvor ofte hun mødes med præsidenten, svarer hun, at "jeg overbelemrer ikke præsidenten med mine besøg: vi ses ca. en gang om ugen, og jeg mener, at det er nok til, at præsidenten og premierministeren får klaret alle spørgsmål".
"Jeg mener ikke, at jo oftere du i en eller anden anledning eller af en eller anden grund er ved præsidentens side, jo bedre er det for staten. Det er min indfaldsvinkel. Jeg beder kun præsidenten om et møde, hvis jeg har nogle uopsættelige spørgsmål".
Tymoshenko sagde, at der er "en del mennesker, som er villige til at ødelægge enigheden" mellem hende og Jusjtjenko. "Det får de ikke lov til. Jeg tror, at præsidenten er af samme opfattelse".
"Vores enhed tilhører ikke os! Hverken præsidenten eller mig. Vores enhed er et signal til landet og et signal til verden. Og jeg vil ikke give nogle lov til at ødelægge det, herunder hverken mig selv eller præsidenten", siger Tymoshenko.
På spørgsmålet om hvilke kvoter som skal gælde i Tymoshenkos og Jusjtjenkos partiblok ved valget i 2006, svarer Tymoshenko, at hun "har bedt Viktor Jusjtjenko om at udskyde alle disse diskussioner til efteråret".
"Eftersom der er så mange andre ting på vores hold. En hvilken som helst anstødssten - og I kan vel forestille jer, hvad det vil sige at dele en partiliste op og lave en koalitionsaftale - det er et problem selv for et fuldstændig ensartet kollektiv".
Hun foreslår desuden at begrænse antallet af personer, som fører disse forhandlinger. "Selvfølgelig skal det være præsidenten, der taler på vegne af et stort hold".
"For nærværende er der ligeså mange forskellige synspunkter, som der er personer repræsenteret i partiet "Folkeunionen Vores Ukraine". Jeg mener, at man bør få styr på denne multivektorisme", tilføjer Tymoshenko. UP.
New York Times Travel
April 3, 2005
It was only a few months ago that the extraordinary political upheaval in Ukraine unfolded on television screens around the world against the backdrop of a capital, Kyiv, that many viewers had never seen before. The images were compelling: glittering church domes, forested riverbanks, the grandiose post-World War II architecture of Kreshchatik Street and Independence Square, where thousands of Ukrainians massed in protest, and then, finally, in ebullient celebration as a new Weste rn-minded president, Viktor A. Yushchenko, was ushered in.
The upheaval has ended, but the backdrop is still there, as is a sense of optimism that Ukraine may yet shake off the post-Soviet funk that left the country mired in economic chaos and political intrigue even as other former Soviet republics and satellites - the Baltics, Poland, the Czech Republic - opened up to the West. In Kyiv, especially, the ramifications of political change are enticing, not just for residents but for foreign visitors intent on exploring a city that has all the makings of a new Prague.
Mr. Yushchenko's government is promising to lure investors and tourists - one of its first steps was to ease visa restrictions for those attending the annual pop music competition, Eurovision, in May. This year's event, the 50th, will include performers from 40 countries and be televised to millions across the Continent.
But perhaps what will most encourage tourists to explore this graceful city on the banks of the Dnieper River are the images that were televised in December. Those who come will find a rich historical and cultural heritage and a vibrant urban spirit.
Kyiv, as guidebooks will tell you, is ancient, its "modern" founding dating from the 10th century. It was from Kyiv that the Orthodox Church spread its influence through Russia.
Nowhere is the city's spiritual and historical significance more apparent than at the Holy Assumption Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, on a hill overlooking the river south of the city center. Founded in the 11th century, it is the oldest Orthodox monastery of Old Rus and Ukraine. Its domes and Great Bell Tower, just under 317 feet high, compete with the slightly taller Rodina Mat, or Motherland, the steel-covered monument to the Soviet Union's victory over the Nazis, as the most distinctive feature of the city's la ndscape.
The monastery is one of the most venerated sites in Russian Orthodoxy, drawing millions of pilgrims from across Europe. Inside the monastery, divided into upper and lower sections, are two dozen churches, towers and museums (most from the 17th and 18th centuries). The Ukrainian Museum of Historical Treasures has a spectacular collection of Scythian gold, including an intricate fourth-century necklace that depicts, among other things, two men fighting over a golden fleece. Even more fascinating is what ga ve the monastery its name: peshchery, or caves. Beneath the grounds are hundreds of yards of narrow, winding passages, where monks lived, worshiped and died. Their mummified relics remain there, placed in narrow notches carved out of the stone. One enters the Near Caves from the Krestovozdvizhenskaya Church (Church of the Elevation of the Cross), where visitors can buy candles, the only source of light inside. >From 15 to 65 feet underground are three churches, as well as the tomb of St. Anthony, the ascetic who moved into a cave nearby in the 11th century. A darkened, otherworldly silence is interrupted only occasionally by prayerful chants of worshipers.
Centuries of war and occupation - most recently by Nazi Germany, followed by what the most ardent nationalists here consider renewed occupation by the Soviet Union - destroyed much of the city's most venerable architecture, including the monastery's principal church, the Uspensky (Assumption) Cathedral. An explosion demolished it in 1941 in circumstances that are still disputed; it has since been rebuilt.
Other landmarks remain largely untouched. The most impressive is St. Sofia's Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece, with its 13 blue and gold domes. It was erected in the first half of the 11th century in what is now called the Upper City. Although its Baroque exterior is the result of a 17th-century reconstruction, its interior still has partly preserved Byzantine frescoes a thousand years old. The cathedral also houses the centuries-old tombs of the Kyivan princes, including Yaroslav the Wise, who co mmissioned the church after his victory in the 11th century over the nomadic Pecheneg tribe.
The National Reserve of St. Sofia's Cathedral, as it is now called, is open to the public, though the day I visited it was closed in the morning because Mr. Yushchenko, newly inaugurated, was praying there. It was gloriously sunny, with the light glinting off the cathedral's domes, and when I finally entered the grounds, a man with a bandura, a lutelike instrument, sang melodic folksongs on a bench.
Not far from here, a funicular descends to the banks of the Dnieper and a gentrifying, middle-class neighborhood called Podil, where I stayed in a simple, but comfortable hotel, the Domus. A longer, but far more pleasant route is Andriyivsky Uzviz, or St. Andrew's Descent. Cobblestoned and mostly pedestrian, the winding, sloping street is Kyiv's Montmartre, lined with galleries, antiques stores and artist studios in late 19th-century brick buildings.
Here, artists sell their paintings and sculptures. Other vendors, among them impoverished pensioners, sell jewelry, linens, T-shirts and souvenirs. Farther along is a museum in the home where Mikhail Bulgakov, the Russian writer, lived from 1906 to the early years of the Soviet Union before moving to Moscow and inviting persecution for his scathingly satirical novels and plays, including "The Master and Margarita."
It is on Andriyivsky Uzviz that visitors will also encounter the vibrancy of postelection Kyiv. On a recent evening the L-Art gallery, at No. 2-B, which usually specializes in Socialist Realism paintings of the 50's, 60's and 70's, was displaying raw, graffitilike paintings by Volodymyr Kuznetsov, a young artist whose inspiration lay in the political upheaval that came to be called the Orange Revolution. Mr. Kuznetsov's works reflect what Lyudmyla Berenznitska, the owner of the gallery, calls "the birth of a new Ukraine."
"We are a young nation," she explained on the night of the opening when the gallery was packed with journalists, graying intellectuals, young people and two television crews, one from a station that only weeks before would not have dared show anti-government sentiments. "We are in the process of self-recognition."
That might seem an odd thing to say about a country with a deep, rich history. But here on Andriyivsky Uzviz, which binds the past and the future, the process of self-recognition is very much in evidence, as illustrated not just by the avant-garde art Ms. Berenznitska is showing in her gallery, but in the new bar and restaurant, Pr?t-?-Caf?, that she has recently opened in a gallery annex at 10 Andriyivsky Uzviz. The cafe is sleekly modern, with a sound system pulsing with European pop.
A profusion of new cafes, bars and restaurants are opening elsewhere in the city. Some, like Decadence House, at 16 Shota Rustaveli Street, became late-night hangouts during the election, when the aides for the bitterly divided presidential campaigns gathered and, by all accounts, set aside their disputes. On my last evening in Kyiv I found my way to Art Club 44, a crowded and smoky underground bar and club in a difficult-to-find courtyard off the city's main street, Kreshchatik.
That night a band called Yaka Isnue from the western city of Lviv appeared onstage and played grinding, grungelike rock. The band's name means, roughly, "the one who exists," and its singer playfully dedicated a song to the "crocodile tears" of Mr. Yushchenko's defeated opponent, Viktor F. Yanukovich. The crowd laughed and hooted through the din; many swayed or danced in what seemed like elation.
It seemed that, for Kyiv, there was no turning back.
U.S. citizens traveling to Ukraine must have a visa, which can be obtained from the Consular Office of the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, or the consulates general in Chicago, San Francisco or in New York at 240 East 49th Street, New York, N.Y. 10017; (212) 371-5690. Online visit www.ukraineinfo.us. A single-entry visa is $100, by money order.
AeroSvit Airlines offers nonstop service from New York to Kyiv (Kennedy Airport) three times a week (five times weekly beginning in mid-May); (212) 661-1620; www.aerosvit.us; from about $520 round trip.
Lodging and dining
Hotel Domus, 19 Yaroslavskaya Street, (38-044) 490-9009, fax (38-044) 462-5145, www.domus-hotel.kiev.ua, is a small business-class hotel with 29 rooms. A double room costs $190, breakfast not included.
In keeping with the fad for sushi that has spread across many restaurants in the former Soviet Union, Decadence House, 16 Shota Rustaveli, (38-044) 206-4920, serves sushi in addition to European dishes in lush d?cor meant to evoke France; $40 to $60 with a glass of wine, at 5.4 hryvnia to $1. Lunch only.
A better place for sushi is Nobu, 12 Shota Rustaveli, (38-044) 246-7734, a minimalist Japanese restaurant less than a block away that is often so crowded it turns people away. Open daily noon to midnight. Dinner costs $20 to $50.
My favorite place, both for atmosphere and convenience, is Shato, a brewpub and restaurant at 24 Kreshchatik, (38-44) 229-3704, with broad second-floor windows overlooking Independence Square. The restaurant served as the headquarters for Pora, the youth group that provided the uprising with much of its organization and zeal. The beer, brewed on site, is great; the food, not bad. Open daily around the clock. Dinner costs less than $20 with dessert. A half-liter glass of beer brewed here costs $3.25.
The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Thursday, April 7, 2005
MarketWatch by Barbara Kollmeyer
LOS ANGELES -- The White House rolled out the red carpet this week for new Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. International investors, however, already have given the country a warm reception.
Last year's so-called Orange Revolution ushered in Mr. Yushchenko and a new, pro-Western government, and the transformation is spreading to Ukraine's financial markets. At Dragon Capital, a major investment bank based in the capital of Kyiv, the benefits are clear. "Liquidity has increased more than five times in local stock markets and prices have doubled to tripled for most of the traded stocks we have had," managing director Tomas Fiala said.
In the last three months, new U.S. and European investors have opened accounts with Dragon Capital, Mr. Fiala said. That's significant for a country whose stock exchange lists only 10 major companies.
To be sure, Ukraine's tiny stock market was already rising before the dramatic events that culminated in wide election protests last November. The PFTS Index, a capitalization-weighted index of the most liquid stocks traded on Ukraine's PFTS Stock Trading System, more than tripled in 2004. The index weathered a correction early in 2005 and is still up 8% for the year.
Higher commodity prices helped some of Ukraine's resource stocks, while an improved economy also drove the market higher, Mr. Fiala said. The surge has left stocks more expensive, but he said there are opportunities for value and "the stocks still trade at good discounts."
Investors, Mr. Fiala said, are waiting for government policies to improve the overall business climate. "That will provide another boost to the market to move up again," he added.
Outside of Russia, there aren't many investment opportunities in the former Soviet bloc. The Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which were admitted to the European Union last year, are considered more developed economically and politically.
Ukraine isn't expected to be admitted to the EU for another decade at least. Meantime, investors in Ukraine are hopeful that corporate governance under the new administration will improve.
One problem plaguing Ukraine companies, particularly in the steel sector, is an uneven distribution of profits because of "transfer pricing" -- selling products at cheaper prices to offshore companies that then turn around and sell the same products for full market prices.
That cuts Ukrainian firms out of full profits -- and the country out of tax benefits, Mr. Fiala said. "We think that will change and Ukraine will become a much more transparent market that will work according to European standards," he said.
Electric utilities, poorly managed in the past, could benefit most under improved governance. Ukrnafta, the country's largest oil and gas company, which supplies 5% of Ukraine's resources, has benefited from strong oil prices and pays high dividends, Mr. Fiala said. Steelmaker Zaporozhstal also has gained from strong commodity prices.
Few U.S. fund managers invest in Ukraine . Last year's revolution, though, captured the attention of John Connor, who now has four Ukraine-related stocks in his Third Millennium Russia fund. These include electric utility Donbasenergo, Zaporozhstal, brewer Slavutich Pivzavod (majority-owned by Finnish-Swedish concern Baltic Beverages Holding), and Stirol, a world leading fertilizer producer and exporter.
"We put our finger up in the wind and decided that if people are beginning to look around the [Commonwealth of Independent States - the former Soviet Union minus the Baltics], we wanted to be there too," Mr. Connor said.
"Ukraine is going to be one of the top markets in terms of risk of ownership and transparency of company's results," he said. "It'll take them a few years to get there, but I think there's a real determination to be a solid European-type corporate culture."
Any emerging market involved heightened risks. Vladimir I. Milev, investment analyst with Metzler/Payden in Los Angeles, said the firm is considering Ukraine but so far has restricted investments in former Soviet countries to one Estonian company in its Metzler/Payden Europe Emerging Markets fund.
Mr. Milev said much of Ukraine's 12% economic growth last year was due to Russian demand for natural resources. There's concern that Ukraine's new pro-Western status could affect the country's relationship with Russia and impact its companies, he added. Ukraine also faces parliamentary elections in March 2006, when Mr. Yushchenko's government will try to shore up support, he said.
"The government doesn't have a very long time to implement" changes, Mr. Milev noted. "The one issue they need to address is inflation."
The biggest deterrent Mr. Milev sees to Ukraine investment is a lack of liquid stocks. Sector choices are mostly limited to resources, and few compelling valuations exist even when compared with Romania or central Europe, he said. But Ukraine could be a bigger player in the future: "It's useful to look at earlier convergence countries like Spain when it wasn't a member of the European Union. I don't think there's any investor now who doesn't think Spain is a viable investment these days," he said.
Mark Mobius, manager of the Templeton Developing Markets fund, said he's keeping a close eye on Ukraine's market but is wary because of last year's huge stock run-up. "Ukraine needs a market with much better liquidity and continuing economic and political reform," he said. "Russia is much more advanced from a capital market point of view. However, Ukraine could become much more viable and important."
Den ukrainske indenrigsminister Jurij Lutsenko har under sit besøg i Minsk fortalt Hvideruslands præsident Aleksander Lukashenko om den orange revolutions landvindinger. Lutsenkos pressesekretær Inna Kysil oplyser til UP, at ministeren har fortalt Lukashenko, at "der takket være Jusjtjenkos magtovertagelse ikke længere er nogle urørlige".
"Som den første civile indenrigsminister og som et produkt af den revolutionære Uafhængighedsplads vil jeg bekæmpe den organiserede kriminalitet, og vi bør bevise, at den ikke bliver beskyttet af politiet", sagde Lutsenko.
Lukashenko svarede Lutsenko, at han "aldrig har blandet sig i Ukraines indenrigspolitik og håber på et samarbejde med Jusjtjenko".
"Jeg var sikker på, at Uafhængighedspladsen ville sejre", sagde Lukashenko til Lutsenko ifølge den ukrainske ministers pressesekretær. I Minsk overrakte Lutsenko den hviderussiske indenrigsminister Naumov formandskabet for SNG-landenes indenrigsministerielle råd.
Kysil fremhæver, at hele det ukrainske indenrigsministeriums delegation ankom til Minsk i orange slips, hvilket skabte røre blandt de øvrige deltagere. Det ukrainske indenrigsministeriums ledelse medbragte også nogle orange souvenirs som halstørklæder, huer, slips og kuglepenne som en gave til de andre delegationer. Også det hviderussiske politi modtog en gavepakke.
SNG's antiterroristiske centrum anmodede den ukrainske minister om at få tilsendt yderligere orange produkter.
I ugens løb gik Lukashenko imod "en demokratisk udskiftning af de politiske eliter, som Vesten har noget imod, fordi der slet ikke er tale om spraglede revolutioner, men politisk banditvæsen under dække af demokrati". UP.
I dag mødtes sekretæren for Ukraines nationale sikkerheds- og forsvarsråd, Petro Poroshenko, i Moskva med lederen af den russiske Statsduma, Boris Gryzlov.
Det ukrainske nationale sikkerheds- og forsvarsråds pressetjeneste oplyser, at Poroshenko under mødet takkede Gryzlov "for... en personlig indsats i løsningen af den konflikt med Ukraines gamle styre, som fandt sted under præsidentvalget".
Poroshenko fremhævede, at "partiet "Det forenede Rusland" og Folkeunionen "Vores Ukraine" har meget tilfælles, og man derfor er nået frem til en aftale om at etablere en konstruktiv dialog og udveksling af informationer mellem partiapparaterne".
Formanden for Ukraines nationale sikkerheds- og forsvarsråd oplyste, at Ruslands Statsduma har tildelt Den interparlamentariske kommission for samarbejde mellem Verkhovna Rada og Den russiske Føderations Føderale forsamlinger en højere status.
Ifølge pressetjenesten kom man under mødet ind på en bred vifte af spørgsmål, lige fra den russiske Sortehavsflådes placering på Ukraines territorium til spørgsmålet om de to staters energipolitiske sikkerhed. "Novyny-Ukrajina". UP.
NATO skrev i dag under på en historisk militæraftale med Rusland. NATO-landenes udenrigsministre mødtes i Litauens hovedstad Vilnius, hvor de også diskuterede Ukraines fremtid i NATO.Aftalen med Rusland skal styrke forholdet mellem NATO og Rusland. For eksempel vil aftalen gøre det nemmere for NATO og Rusland at arrangere fælles øvelser og træning. Det vil blandt andet blive nemmere for NATO-styrker at få lov til at passere gennem russisk territorium og omvendt.
Embedsmænd fra NATO kalder aftalen for et vigtigt skridt fremad, når det gælder forholdet til Rusland.
Støtte til Ukraine
På mødet blev udenrigsministrene desuden enige om at gøre alt, hvad de kan, for at hjælpe Ukraine med at gennemføre reformer, så landet får mulighed for at nærme sig Vesten.
Støtteerklæringen kom blandt andet på grund af risikoen for, at Ukraines ”Orange revolution” kan gøre forholdet til Rusland mere anstrengt end tidligere.
Embedsmænd fra NATO kalder aftalen for et vigtigt skridt fremad, når det gælder forholdet til Rusland.
USA's Senat har enstemmigt vedtaget et lovforslag om ekstraordinære supplerende udgifter i USA's statsbudget i det indeværende finansår, som skal bruges til økonomisk hjælp til Ukraine og Kirgizistan.
Ifølge loven skal Ukraine have de 60 mill. US$, som USA's præsident George Bush talte om den 4. april på en en fælles pressekonference med Ukraines præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko i Det hvide Hus.
Senatets bevillingsudvalg, som har forberedt lovforslag til afstemning, har også givet sin tilslutning til, at disse penge gives til Ukraines regering.
"Udvalget anerkender Den orange revolutions historiske landvindinger og mener, at en supplerende finansiering vil medvirke til en fremme og en konsolidering af livsvigtige politiske og økonomiske reformer i dette land", understreges det i udvalgets bemærkninger til lovforslaget.
Lovforslaget opererer også med at der skal bevilges 40 US$ til "akutte økonomiske behov" til Kirgizistan og fem andre lande; nemlig Jemen, Marokko, Salvador, Mongoliet og Dzibouti", som alle deltager i den amerikanske militære koalition i Irak og Afghanistan.
Det af Senatet godkendte lovforslag er Senatets udgave af Bush's forespørgsel om at afsætte yderligere penge fra USA's statsbudget i det indeværende finansår på i alt 81,9 mia. US$, som præsidenten rettede til den amerikanske kongres den 14. februar.
Efter Senatets godkendelse skal ovennævnte lovforslag i den nærmeste fremtid afstemmes med den udgave, som Repræsentanternes hus tidligere har vedtaget, og hvorefter det efter den endelige vedtagelse i kongressen i staten af maj vil blive sendt til Det hvide Hus med henblik på at Bush's underskrift. UNIAN. UP.
By Taras Kuzio
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko cancelled her first official visit to Russia this week. The Russian Prosecutor-General's office has continued to insist that she be brought in for questioning in connection with a long-forgotten case from the 1990s in which she is accused of bribing Russian Defense Ministry officials. Ukrainian authorities under former president Leonid Kuchma unsuccessfully tried to smear her with these and other charges in 2001-2003.
Russia, in a bid to demonstrate its support for Kuchma last year, placed Tymoshenko on the Interpol wanted list. Interpol meanwhile, removed her from all wanted lists on March 3-4; now she cannot be arrested on the charges laid out by Russia. Yet Moscow doggedly insists that the case remains open.
Although Tymoshenko has diplomatic immunity, the Ukrainian government decided to cancel the visit for legal reasons and to protest Russia's refusal to close the case. The cancellation confirms that Russia still is unable to come to terms with Viktor Yushchenko's election victory last December.
Moscow is at a loss about what to do with a Ukraine under Yushchenko. This bewilderment compounds Russia's pre-existing inability to deal with Ukraine as a truly foreign country. In an interview given to Kommersant (April 12), Russian President Vladimir Putin compared Russia and Ukraine to East and West Germany. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry dismissed this comparison as both "absurd and illogical" (Ukrayinska pravda, April 13).
What then is the source of this newfound uncertainty in Moscow? As Sergei Karaganov, deputy director of the Institute of Europe, pointed out, it is the threat of the entire western ex-USSR joining NATO and then moving on to join the EU (RIA-Novosti, April 11). The idea of Belarus and Moldova joining NATO is far fetched for now, as one is ruled by a neo-Soviet autocrat and the other by Communists who only have set their sights on the EU. The reality, as Izvestiya (April 8) explained, is that Ukraine and Russia see the United States and the West in different ways, with Moscow viewing "America through Cold War stereotypes" and Kyiv seeing "America as its ally."
Tensions between the former allies are likely to increase as Russia increasingly becomes a haven for people fleeing justice in Ukraine.
For example, Maxim Kurochkin, formerly vice-president of the Russian Club in Kyiv, is in hiding in Moscow after Ukraine's Prosecutor-General launched charges against him. The Russian Club was created in summer 2004 as a lobbying center for Russian interests and the headquarters of the Russian "political technologists" working for Viktor Yanukovych's campaign. The Russian Club was officially opened by the Russian Embassy and Yanukovych.
Kurochkin is wanted on at least three charges, including extortion and theft of state property through Ihor Bakay, then head of the State Directorate for Affairs, a government branch that controlled Kyiv's Hotel Dnipro, various markets, and tourist resorts.
Kurochkin is also accused of having links to organized crime and even survived a mafia-style hit in Kyiv in November 2004. The links among organized crime, Russian "political advisors," and the Yanukovych campaign have been publicly exposed. Deputy Interior Minister Hennadiy Moskal outlined that state property worth close to $1 billion was transferred illegally to this "Muscovite criminal authority" (Ukrayinska pravda, March 22).
Moskal believes that extradition would be a long process, as Kurochkin is both a Russian citizen and "he is an influential person with many ties" (Ukrayinska pravda, April 13). When he resided in Ukraine, "The entire leadership of the Interior Ministry and the presidential administration were his best friends." Meanwhile, Kurochkin is living quite comfortably in Moscow and is not worried about being deported to Ukraine (Lvivska hazeta, March 24).
Bakay, another high-ranking official from the Kuchma regime, is wanted on countless corruption and money-laundering charges. Bakay's extradition would also be difficult. According to his former allies in the Social Democratic United (SDPUo) party, Bakay is a Russian citizen. However, Ukraine does not recognize dual citizenship.
Bakay is living near Moscow where he fled in late December. According to Minister of Transport Yevhen Chervonenko, Bakay fled Ukraine with "five sacks full of cash". One private plane flew Bakay to the Maldives and a second transported his personal property to a dacha near Moscow (Ukrayinska pravda, April 12).
As head of the State Directorate on Affairs between 2002 and 2004 (and formerly CEO of Naftohaz Ukrainy in the 1990s), Bakay is a controversial figure. Kuchma brought him back to divide up remaining state property among his allies as election bribes. The spoils included the Hotel Dnipro, which was transferred to Kurochkin between rounds one and two of the presidential elections. The Prosecutor-General has launched seven serious criminal charges against Bakay that relate to widespread, officially sanctioned theft of state property and theft from the state budget (Ukrayinska pravda, March 22).
Chervonenko linked Bakay and former Transport Minister Heorhiy Kirpa (who committed suicide in December 2004) to Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the presidential administration under Kuchma. Medvedchuk accused Chervonenko of "character assassination" on 1+1 television (April 12). Nevertheless, the connections between Kurochkin's Russian Club, Bakay's State Directorate for Affairs, and the presidential administration are easy to prove. Warehouses controlled by Bakay's State Directorate were used during last year's elections to store anti-Yushchenko leaflets, while the Russian political advisors used the Russian Club for offices and a press club.
by Natalia Gevorkian,
President Yushchenko is the Ukrainian Gorbachev today. This is the leader who started perestroika. Remember how the whole world greeted Gorbachev with enthusiasm and you'll understand why Bush received Yushchenko the way he did and gave him so much he didn't ask for. America is investing in project Ukraine, which seems promising to it. Right before our eyes Russia's most important ally is becoming a very important ally of the West. It is not inconceivable that this alliance will turn out to be less heartfelt but more effective than the previous one.
On the tide of this Ukrainian breakthrough in the West, Russian melancholy is somehow very visibly increasing. In the minds of Kremlin bureaucrats, the loss of the CIS is growing into the threat of the loss of Russia, which, as these bureaucrats claim, will only be saved by the solidarity of the elite with the present government. It is significant that such a tragic text from the mouth of the head of the Kremlin administration was heard on the eve of Viktor Yushchenko's triumphal visit to Washington. Yushchenko himself is a living example of the miscalculations of these same Russian bureaucrats who have now set about saving Russia. It is terrifying to think what might happen in the expanses of a country dear to our hearts if the effectiveness of the next Kremlin PR action for the country turns out to be as effective as the Kremlin's PR in the CIS.
At the same time as [Dmitry] Medvedev was all but saying that the fatherland was in danger, Yushchenko was trying to convince his compatriots abroad that their fatherland was out of danger, everything was changing; the doors are open; come live and work. At the same time as the Russian leaders are trying grip the country in one firm fist, Ukraine is prepared to open its borders, attract foreign investments, and abolish visas in order to move closer to a normal Central European life.
The faster and more successfully democratic and economic processes develop in Ukraine, the greater the nightmare for the Kremlin. "The peculiarities of Russian democracy" that President Putin is so insistent upon, still differ on the positive side from the peculiarities of Belarussian democracy, but no longer differ greatly from the peculiarities of Ukrainian democracy of the Kuchma era and undoubtedly lose in comparison with the normal democracy without national coloring for which Yushchenko is striving. And he will strive pragmatically for this, because he needs the West's help and alternatives to Russian deliveries of oil and gas; he needs room to maneuver and the status of a European country with all the ensuing advantages, and simply comforts that will be valued in both the western and eastern parts of the country.
What should Russia do with such a Ukraine close by? It is understandable why Medvedev is nervous. The collapse of Russia has nothing at all to do with it. The preservation of the present regime, which is not losing in comparison with Lukashenko, is the problem. It can only be solved by turning Russia into present-day Belarus. Hang up the curtain; close the windows; call the president batka [Lukashenko's nickname, meaning "father"]; and finally, swear off perestroika.
Kyiv, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine intends, within this year, to settle certain issues of Russia's Crimea-stationed Black Sea Fleet, alongside frontier issues and bilateral power industrial partnership prospects, President Viktor Yushchenko said to newsmen today.
The desired settlement demands approximate total 25 to 30 agreements for signing, remarked the President, as reported by the Novosti-Ukraine news agency.
As for the status of the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet, there are presently five documents to determine it. Regrettably, they do not comprise all involved issues. "If we are friends, let us look each other straight in the eyes and say: 'The matter has to change'," called Yushchenko.
He went over to frontier issues to highlight the latest bilateral presidential summit, which brought an understanding to settle particular matters even within this year-demarcation and delimitation, recognition of the once disputed frontier along the Kerch Strait, and frontier crossing arrangements for areas close to the frontier to either side.
The President pointed out current "unique opportunities to step up Ukrainian-Russian power industrial cooperation." Ukraine's success here depends on just how active it will be in that field, he emphasized.
Yushchenko also made a remark on Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko's visit to Moscow put off. "It was due to technical issues within the country," he explained. "There were technical problems to which we responded. That was why we postponed the visit. It will take some more time to make visit preparations." At any rate, Timoshenko will go to Russia. That is beyond doubt, he said.
The world knows numerous instances of political leaders postponing visits: "Every country occasionally encounters domestic issues that require the closest attention."
Ukraine's contacts with Russia ought to see steady improvement, and must be "honest, public and fruitful", said the President.
He once again denied rumors of Yulia Timoshenko's tentative dismissal from premiership. "Ever more legends are circulated round the matter, and I blush to hear them. That all has gone beyond the limits of common sense," exclaimed Mr. Yushchenko.
Ukraines forsvarsminister Anatolij Hrytsenko afviser muligheden af en opsigelse af den ukrainsk-russiske aftale om udstationeringen af Ruslands Sortehavsflåde i Krim i relation til Ukraines bestræbelser på at blive medlem af NATO. Det sagde Hrystenko på den pressekonference, som fandt sted inden hans afrejse til Moskva mandag, oplyser BBC med henvisning til ITAR-TASS.
Men ifølge oplysninger fra russiske militære kilder vil spørgsmålet om vilkårene for udstationeringen af den russiske flåde på Krim være på dagsordenen under forhandlingerne med den ukrainske minister.
Tidligere har Kyiv flere gange betonet, at den russiske flåde overtræder vilkårene for udstationeringen af tropper på ukrainske territorium. Under besøget i Moskva vil Anatolij Hrytsenko, som forventet, underskrive en aftale med Rusland om militært samarbejde for 2005.
I interviewet bekræftede han endnu engang Ukraines planer om at indtræde i NATO, men tilføjede, at dette ikke bør betragtes som et fjendtligt skridt i forhold til Rusland. UP.
The New York Times
April 22, 2005
Steven R. Weisman
VILNIUS, Lithuania - NATO acted officially on Thursday to open discussions with Ukraine, a former partner of Russia, to become a member of the Atlantic military alliance, while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with opposition leaders favoring the ouster of the Russian-backed regime in Belarus.
Rice, who previously had declared that Belarus was the last dictatorship in Europe, warned bluntly that it should not conduct a "sham election" next year because its conduct would be "watched by the international community," much as the election in Ukraine last year had been watched and deemed fraudulent, helping to lea d to its revolution.
The opposition leaders with whom Rice met said later that they would use "mass pressure for change" on the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko. But Rice cautioned that she was not suggesting any particular way for them to oust him.
In Moscow earlier in the week, Rice heard complaints from officials and call-in listeners on a radio show that Russians fear the United States is trying to surround Russia with allies and in some cases military forces. She told reporters that Russians seemed mired in a "19th-century" view of the world.
Nevertheless, to counter Russian concerns, NATO also moved Thursday to sign a "status of forces" agreement with Russia that would enable it to expand joint military exercises on Russian soil, possibly for future peace-keeping operations in various trouble spots.
There have been a few such joint exerc ises focusing on dealing with emergencies or humanitarian crises, but American and NATO officials said the new accord would expand the possibilities, making it easier to transport foreign troops across Russian soil to interdict narcotics and arms smuggling from Afghanistan and other places.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, met with NATO foreign ministers here in the capital of Lithuania, itself a onetime state in the Soviet Union but now a NATO member, and he said he was pleased with the Russia-NATO accord.
"The issues were dealt with without extraneous ideology," Lavrov said, though he added a note of displeasure with Rice's meeting with Belarus opposition leaders, saying that Russia did not support "regime change" there.
Rice flew back to Washington on Thursday night, ending her first visit to Russia as secretary of state. Part of her task was to pave the way for Preside nt George W. Bush's visit to Moscow next month to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, but that event is also stirring controversy.
Many world leaders are scheduled to join Bush in Russia, but Lithuania, for example, is boycotting on the grounds that the celebration is effectively marking the beginning of Russia's grip on Eastern Europe and the cold war tensions that followed.
The NATO decision on Ukraine was set in motion after the victory of Viktor Yushchenko in the "Orange Revolution" last year. His rise to power came after an uprising that installed a new pro-Western regime in Georgia, and it was followed this year by an uprising in Kyrgyzstan, another former Soviet state.
Yushchenko pressed the case for joining NATO in Washington earlier this month when he visited the White House and addressed Congress. Bush backed the request, but this week American officials said that en try would not be easy or rapid. Ukraine used to have one of the largest armies in Europe, but its armed forces have shrunk recently.
"NATO is not just a club," a senior State Department official said. "You've got to be able to contribute." The official said that before Ukraine could join NATO, it would need to demonstrate that civilian control of the military, and its democracy in general, will last, and that an effective military is not "top heavy" with generals.
The NATO discussions encompassed other issues, including a decision by the alliance to be ready, if asked by the African Union, to transfer forces to Darfur, Sudan, where thousands have died in a civil war and many more have been driven from their homes. But Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO secretary general, said any troop support would involve "planning and logistical support," and not "boots on the ground."
The United States has tried and failed to broker a Darfur peace agreement and to get adequate relief to the victims of what it has called genocide, but it remains committed to getting more outside forces there. "We all have a responsibility to do what we can to alleviate suffering in Darfur and to create conditions in which humanitarian aid can get in," Rice said.
In addition, de Hoop Scheffer said there was a discussion - purely hypothetical, he said - about the possibility of eventually sending NATO forces as peacekeepers in other situations, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rice pressed for a broader NATO role, or at least a discussion of such a role. "We intend to use NATO more and more effectively as a trans-Atlantic security forum," she said. But Foreign Minister Michel Barnier of France warned against turning NATO into "the world's policeman" and taking on too many tasks outside Europe.