Reacting to Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov’s latest statements in Sevastopol, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that territorial claims on behalf of Russia "play on the pseudopatriotic sentiments of certain sections of Russia’s population" and constitute a "dangerous adventure." The Ministry observed that Luzhkov was not authorized to express the Russian government’s position and described Luzhkov’s views as running counter to "the course toward partnership, launched by Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma." (Ukrainian agencies, February 23) Last weekend in Sevastopol, Luzhkov called for the return to Russia not only of that city–in which the main base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is temporarily located — but of the Crimean Peninsula as well. He went on to predict that "Russian-Ukrainian relations will never be normal as long as the injustice continues with respect to Sevastopol and Crimea."
Claiming inaccurately that public signs in Sevastopol are all in the Ukrainian language, Luzhkov dwelt on the problem of schools, protesting against "forcible Ukrainization" and defending the Crimean Russians’ right to "teach their children Russian history and Russian literature in the Russian language." (Russian and Ukrainian agencies, February 20 through 23; and Monitor, February 23). In actual fact there are currently only two complete Ukrainian-language schools in all of Crimea, compared to 586 Russian-language schools and fifteen schools that offer education in Crimean Tatar. (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: CIS Digest, No. 159, February 19, 1998)
Repression in Belarus Penalized by European Parliament.