Ukrainian Protestors Fueled By U.S.CUs

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CHICAGO - (12/06/04) -- The historical protests in theUkraine which led the country's Supreme Court Friday to overturnlast month's disputed election results had an American assist, morespecifically, an American credit union assist. Protestors gatheredin Kiev's Independence Square the past four weeks to protest theelection, estimated at as many as one million Ukrainians, have beenaided by as much as $1 million sent through the network of 18Ukrainian credit unions in the U.S. SelfReliance FCU in Chicago,alone has wired more than $300,000 in the past two weeks to aid theprotestors. "There are a number of organization that have openedaccounts at Ukrainian credit unions and that money is beingtransferred to support people who are out in the streets to providethem with medical assistance, to provide them with food," saidBohdan Watral, president of SelfReliance FCU in Chicago, home toone of the largest Ukrainian immigrant populations in the U.S.SelfReliance FCU and other U.S. credit unions have agreed to waivethe $30-to-$50 transfer fees so Ukrainian-Americans and immigrantscan wire funds to their family members in support of the protests,Watral told The Credit Union Journal. The protestors have set upmake-shift camps and have been living in the capital's IndependenceSquare since the contested Nov. 21 vote which certified PrimeMinister Viktor Yanokuvych as the nnarrow winner. The protestorswere claiming victory Friday after the country's high court struckdown the election results because of allegations of fraud andordered new elections.

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