UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT LIFTS IMMUNITY OF LAWMAKER LINKED TO LAZARENKO... The parliament on 22 June voted by 229 to five with 65 abstentions to lift the immunity of deputy Mykola Agafonov, Interfax reported. The Prosecutor-General's Office suspects Agafonov of embezzling $24 million in state funds from an agricultural company he headed from 1992-1997. Prosecutors say Agafonov deposited some of the diverted money into accounts of former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who is facing trial on money-laundering charges in the US. Agafonov commented that the charges against him constitute a "political intrigue" and said he will appeal the parliament's decision in court. JM

...APPROVES SENDING PEACEKEEPERS TO LEBANON, CONGO... The parliament voted by 268 to two to endorse President Leonid Kuchma's proposal to send 950 Ukrainian troops and civilian personnel to Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a UN peacekeeping operation in those countries (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 June 2000). JM

...OKAYS PRIVATIZATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANT IN FIRST READING... The legislature also voted the same day by 255 to six to pass in the first reading a bill on the privatization of Ukraine's telecommunication giant, Ukrtelekom, whose assets are valued at 4 billion hryvni ($740 million). The bill calls for the government to keep a 50 percent plus one share stake and sell at least 25 percent of the company's shares. It also bans companies registered in offshore zones from taking part in the privatization of Ukrtelekom. JM

GERMANY UNDECIDED ON CONTRIBUTION TO CHORNOBYL CLOSURE. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told journalists in Kyiv on 23 June that his government is undecided on what help to give Ukraine to close the Chernobyl nuclear power station, dpa reported. Fischer said the size of the German contribution to fix the steel and concrete shelter over Chornobyl's collapsed reactor can be decided only after a G-7 donor conference meets in Berlin on 5 July. JM