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Serious Crisis Developing Between Ukraine and Russia

Ukrainian deputies suggest Ukraine should re-arm its nuclear potential 

It seems that the Ukrainian opposition should not have accused President Kuchma of "desertion." As it has recently been reported, the development of the crisis between Russia and Ukraine had made Leonid Kuchma stop his tour of Latin America and fly over to the Crimea.

According to the latest information, the Ukrainian president arrived in the city of Simferopol and then went to the tiny island of Tuzla to see the "provocative construction" of the dam near Ukraine's territorial waters. Ukraine perceived the construction as an attack on the territorial integrity of the state.

Ukrainian News agency reports the Ukrainian president is accompanied by Transport Minister Goergy Kirpa, Chairman of the State Border Service Nikolay Litvin, and head of the presidential administration Viktor Medvedchuk. Leonid Kuchma will also check the state of border troops in the area of the island. After that, Kuchma will hold a meeting in the city of Kerch. Alexander Zatynaiko, chairman of the Armed Forces General Headquarters will reportedly participate in this gathering as well. 

Presidents of Russia and Ukraine have had a telephone conversation to discuss the dangerous situation. "To ease the situation, Putin addressed to the leadership of the Krasnodar region with a request to stop the construction of the dam," Podrobnosty website reported. The two presidents agreed to negotiate all problems on the level of prime ministers. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich is to fly to Moscow on October 24th. 

According to the website, telephone negotiations will continue as well. At present, the dam is 100 meters from the Russian-Ukrainian border; there are 200 meters left to the island of Tuzla. The situation is extremely tense at the moment. In connection with the crisis, Ukrainian deputies have already suggested the state budget of 2004 should have a paragraph concerning the recreation of the Ukrainian nuclear potential. Several Ukrainian Cossacks say they are prepared to send volunteers to defend the island. At the same time, the majority of Ukrainians stand for the peaceful settlement of the crisis, according to opinion polls.

On the photo: Leonid Kuchma

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