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Ukraine: Kuchma Meets With Opposition Leaders

Kyiv, 25 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met briefly with the leaders of several opposition parties today as protests demanding his ouster started to lose momentum. Kuchma met with Communist Party leader Petr Simonenko, Socialist Party leader Oleksander Moroz, and Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of a political bloc named after her.

The opposition leaders presented Kuchma with a list of demands, among them that he resign or agree to hold early elections. Kuchma rejected the demands.

Opposition lawmakers yesterday occupied a stairwell in a presidential administration building and declared a hunger strike. After the Kuchma meeting, they left the building.

Demonstrators again protested outside the parliament building in Kyiv today, but their numbers were less than yesterday. Today's crowd was estimated at about 500 while yesterday there were some 5,000 people attending the demonstration.