Kuchma denies martial law rumors

Oct. 16, 2004 at 4:25 AM

GURZUF, Ukraine, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma Friday denied rumors he had moved troops to Kiev to declare martial law or a state of emergency, Interfax news agency said.

Troops are being moved to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital to take part in a military parade Oct. 28 three days before Ukrainians vote to choose Kuchma's successor as president. The parade is timed to the 60th anniversary of Ukraine's liberation from Nazi German occupation in 1944.

However, fears have circulated among supporters of former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, a strongly pro-American candidate who is running neck-and-neck in opinion polls with Kuchma's preferred successor, current Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych. Yanukovyxch is also backed by Russia.

"As to rumors, especially [those disseminated by] the opposition, it's a pain of out time," Kuchma told reporters in the international children's center Artek during a visit to the Crimea.

Kuchma said an old World War II era T-34 tank will be the only unit of military equipment to take part in the parade. "You know, of [military] equipment there will only be a T-34 tank, which will carry the Victory Flag," he said.

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