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UKRAINIAN MINISTER SAYS GONGADZE'S KILLING HAD NO POLITICAL MOTIVES... Interior Minister Yuriy Smyrnov told journalists on 15 May that investigators have solved the murder of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, noting that the crime had no political grounds. "As a minister, I consider the crime to be solved.... Two perpetrators [of Gongadze's murder] are dead, and there were no organizers because the situation [the murder] was spontaneous, impulsive," Interfax quoted Smyrnov as saying. Smyrnov added that law-enforcement officers found on the bodies of Gongadze's murderers a map showing where the journalist's corpse was buried. Smyrnov also said police have arrested the murderers of Gongadze's murderers. JM

UKRAINIAN SUPREME COURT WITHDRAWS ARREST WARRANT FOR TYMOSHENKO. The Supreme Court on 15 May ruled that prosecutors acted illegally when they imprisoned former Deputy Premier Yuliya Tymoshenko, now a leading opposition politician, ahead of her trial on charges of corruption, tax evasion, smuggling, and document forgery, Reuters reported. The Supreme Court ruling followed an appeal in a lower court by prosecutors seeking to rearrest Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko must still comply with travel restrictions that prevent her from leaving the country until her trial. No date for the hearing has yet been set. JM

POLAND WANTS UKRAINE TO JOIN EU MILITARY FORCE. Poland has suggested to the EU that it could include a Ukrainian military battalion in a Polish brigade to serve in the EU's rapid deployment force, PAP reported on 15 May. "Poland has presented the EU with a report on the matter, which mentions the possibility of including one Ukrainian unit in the Polish EU brigade and agreements reached in this respect with Ukraine. The report has been approved by several EU countries, among them Sweden, now chairing the EU," Polish Defense Minister Bronislaw Komorowski said in Brussels the same day. Poland's EU brigade is to number between 1,500 and 2,500 troops. The EU rapid deployment force -- some 60,000 troops with air force and naval support -- is to be operational in 2003. JM

UNITY FACTION FALLS TO 82 DEPUTIES. With the acceptance of the resignation of Aleksandr Fedulov from Unity on 15 May, that faction now has 82 deputies and thus is in second place to the 85 members of the Communist Party group, Interfax reported. Unity presumably will soon lose another deputy now that Viktor Chernomyrdin has been named ambassador to Ukraine, the news service said. PG

STROEV AGAINST CHERNOMYRDIN-TYPE APPOINTMENTS. Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroev said on 15 May that former Prime Minister Chernomyrdin will undoubtedly do well in his new post as ambassador to Ukraine, but added that making use of such political heavyweights into "a whole system" would be unfortunate, Interfax reported. Stroev said that it is necessary instead to work hard to develop and promote new cadres. Meanwhile, Chernomyrdin himself said that he is not afraid of a wave of compromising materials that several Russian politicians have suggested may be directed against him, the news agency reported the same day. PG

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PRAISES RUSSIAN PRESS. In an ORT television program on 14 May, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said that the Russian press covers developments in his country objectively, adding that there is no reason to say that the Western media could do better, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 May. Meanwhile, at a conference in Kyiv on Russian-language media, Mikhail Seslavinskii, Russia's first deputy media minister, said that Moscow is prepared to provide material support for the Ukrainian-language press in Russia, Interfax reported the same day. PG

RURHGAS, LUKOIL TO EXPAND COOPERATION, BYPASS UKRAINE. Germany's Ruhrgas company will continue its strategic partnership with Russia's Gazprom, officials told ITAR-TASS on 15 May. The two gas companies will consider building additional pipelines allowing Russia gas exports to Europe to bypass Ukraine, the news service reported. PG

GUUAM SUMMIT POSTPONED AGAIN. The summit of GUUAM member states (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) scheduled for 26-28 May in Yalta has been postponed until June at the request of Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev, Ukrainian presidential spokesman Oleksandr Martynenko told Interfax in Kyiv on 15 May. The summit was originally scheduled for March but was postponed at the request of Aliev and then-Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 February 2001). LF

UZBEKISTAN ANNOUNCES SALE OF STAKE IN FOUR OIL AND GAS ENTERPRISES. Uzbekistan's State Property Commission announced on 15 May the sale of 39-44 percent of the shares in four enterprises of the state-owned Uzbekneftegaz, Interfax and AP reported. The total value of those stakes is $131 million. The Uzbek government will retain a 51 percent stake in all four companies. One Polish and one Ukrainian company have already expressed an interest in acquiring a share in two of the enterprises in question. LF