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Ukraine: Ex-Bodyguard Accuses Kuchma Of Bomb Attack

Kyiv, 14 December 2000 (RFE/RL) - A former bodyguard of Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma today accused the President of ordering a hand-grenade attack on one of his opponents. Former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnichenko made the charges in a second round of videotapes played in the Ukrainian parliament. He said a hand-grenade attack last year in which some 50 people were injured had been ordered by Kuchma.

The attack occurred last October at the airport in the town Krivoi Rih, leaving hardcore Marxist Natalia Vitrenko and tens of her supporters wounded. Melnichenko said Kuchma ordered the attack to prevent Vitrenko from running against him in presidential elections.

In a tape played yesterday in parliament, Melnichenko said Kuchma had ordered a kidnapping and possible murder of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze. Gongadze disappeared in Kyiv in mid-September, on his way home from work. A decapitated body thought to be his, has been found but not positively identified.