"Braslavskie ozera" and organising four new reserves: two biological reserves, one landscape reserve, and one hydrological reserve.
Nikolai V. Storozhev
Viktor M. Zarkov
1996 was a year of continuing integration into the world community for Ukraine. Ukraine has now established diplomatic relations with more then 130 countries. For example, Ukraine's relationship with the United Sates was strengthened as Ukraine became the third largest recipient of US assistance. During 1996, Ukraine also developed closer ties with the European Union (EU). In December, the EU outlined its plans for Ukraine, expressing its willingness to support and develop Ukraine's civil society and its economic and energy sectors to increase political dialogue and to encourage Ukraine to form a European safety system. Ukrainian-Russian relations, however, were severely burdened by a dispute over the Black Sea Fleet division and the future of the port city of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.
On June 28, Ukraine marked its fifth anniversary of independence by adopting a new Constitution. The new Constitution established Ukraine as an independent, democratic, social, law-based, unitary state, where the life, health, honor, dignity, inviolability, and security of the individual are recognized as the highest social values. Art. 50 of the Ukrainian Constitution, in line with a trend in other post-socialist constitutions, introduced a provision declaring that every person has the right to a safe and healthy environment, as well as to compensation for damages resulting from the violation of this right. It also declared that every person is guaranteed the right to free access to information on the environment.
The new Ukrainian Constitution calls for the introduction of or amendments to 51 statutes. Apparently reserved for post-constitutional adjustments, none of the expected new environmental or natural resources statutes were enacted in 1996. However, some legal steps were undertaken to improve the enforcement of international and domestic environmental laws. Thus, the Act of Ukraine About Changes and Amendments to Some Legislative Enactments of Ukraine Related to Environmental Issues was adopted on March 6. The Act strengthens administrative and criminal sanctions for administrative offenses and crimes. It also introduces several amendments to the leading