Prominent parliamentarians have expressed disappointment with the outcome of U.S. defense secretary William Perry’s visit last week to Ukraine. During his visit, Perry held nuclear disarmament talks with his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts and traveled to Pervomaisk to witness the destruction of an SS-19 missile silo. Parliament chairman Oleksandr Moroz was said to have canceled an appointment with Perry because his request to meet simultaneously with Valery Shmarov and Pavel Grachev was refused.
Dissatisfaction among parliamentary deputies stems from their opposition to destroying missile silos. Borys Oliinyk, chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs commission, accused the government of ignoring the parliament’s stipulation, dating to November 1993, that the silos be converted to peaceful uses. Oliinyk said the Supreme Council will take up the question of further destruction of silos at a future session. Russian defense minister Grachev inadvertently irritated some Ukrainian deputies with his remark in Kiev that a silo could provide 450 tons of ship-building steel one year and hold grain the next. Politicians of diverse ideological views have found a common cause in their objection to the destruction of the silos. Few, however, are as radical as deputy Stepan Khmara, who suggested that Shmarov and former president Leonid Kravchuk, among others, be held criminally responsible for wanton destruction. Such views have not halted Ukraine’s progress toward nuclear disarmament and are unlikely to impede the program’s successful completion, to which the country’s government, parliamentary majority, and military appear committed. (14)
Kazakh President Expands Powers Once Again.