Reacting to the July 16 assassination attempt against Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, Ukraine’s National Security Council chaired by President Leonid Kuchma decided yesterday to introduce in coming days "elements of a state of emergency" in the country. The Council concluded that the attempt on Lazarenko’s life was directed against reforms and against the state itself. The Council’s secretary Volodymyr Horbulin announced at a briefing that the measures will target subversive communist, other leftist, and ultraright nationalist groups (naming in the latter category the Ukrainian Nationalist Assembly/Self-Defense Organization). There will also be dismissals of officials suspected of collusion with organized crime, a crackdown on illegal armed groups, and enhanced security for senior state officials. According to Horbulin, there was sentiment at the Council’s session that Ukraine "might lose its independence by autumn" unless measures are taken now to ensure its security. By the same token the session decided to avoid any restrictions on civil liberties, including press freedom.
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