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Ukrainian Region Defies President On Russian Language

April 29, 2006 -- In Ukraine's eastern Kharkiv Oblast, lawmakers today voted to examine the expendiency of granting Russian the status of official regional language.

Kharkiv Oblast Council Chairman Vasil Saligyn said the issue would be discussed during the legislature's next session, possibly after May 15.

The announcement followed reports that Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko asked the Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor-General's Office to look into the legality of similar decisons made recently by other regions.

Lawmakers in the eastern oblast of Luhansk and the Crimean city of Sevastopol, which have both predominantly Russian-speaking populations, earlier this month declared Russian a regional language.

Making Russian Ukraine's second official language was one of the main campaign themes of the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian political grouping that won the most votes in last month's parliamentary elections.

(RFE/RL 02.v.06)

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