UKRAINE SLOW TO REACT OFFICIALLY; DEMOCRATS WORRIED, COMMUNISTS UPBEAT.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 115
Ukraine’s president and government withheld any immediate reaction to Russia’s June 16 election. Minister of Defense Valery Shmarov said that Ukraine would have to work with the ultimate winner, and that Kiev "must and will promote cooperation, particularly economic partnership, regardless of the outcome of Russia’s election." Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil and other Rukh parliamentary deputies suggested that Russia’s policy toward Ukraine will not be affected in its essentials by the presidential election’s outcome. They also expressed concern lest Ukraine be asked to contribute to Yeltsin’s victory in the lead-up to Russia’s runoff election, as, for example, through concessions to Moscow on the Black Sea Fleet.
While Crimean prime minister Arkady Demidenko expressed hope for Yeltsin’s success–in order to avoid destabilization of Crimea’s relations with the central government in Kiev–Communist leaders in both Kiev and Crimea came out in support of Zyuganov. Ukrainian Communist party leader Petro Simonenko said that Zyuganov’s victory would lead to closer Russian-Ukrainian relations, and that Crimea and other contentious issues could more easily be settled with Zyuganov than with Yeltsin. Crimean Communist leader Leonid Grach telephoned congratulations and wishes of success to Zyuganov, and assured the public that Zyuganov would not use force to settle the problems of Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet. (Interfax-Ukraine, June 17)
Belarus President Barely Disguises His Preference.