SOVIETS SAY THEY WILL 'RESPECT' UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE

Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitaly Churkin said Wednesday there was no question of stopping Ukrainian independence.Asked by reporters if Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev could not try to prevent Ukrainian independence, Mr. Churkin told reporters: "We recognize and respect the results of the referendum they held on the first of December." However, he stopped short of saying directly the Soviet Union recognized Ukrainian independence. Churkin said the process of formation of a new confederation was still going on. "I, for one, am very concerned about the possibility of a political Chernobyl," he said, referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

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