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SLAVIC CONGRESS CALLS FOR RUSSIA-BELARUS-UKRAINE UNION. More than 800 delegates from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other countries assembled in Moscow at a Congress of Slavic Peoples, RIA-Novosti reported on 1 June. The meeting called for reaffirming national values and for closer integration of the three large Slavic countries. The delegates voted to form a Slav Assembly led by a collective leadership including Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Leonid Kozik, and Ukrainian writer Boris Oleinik. VY

SOVIET, RUSSIAN MILITARY COMBAT DEATHS DETAILED. The Russian General Staff told "Argumenty i fakty," No. 22, that the Soviet military lost 939,755 soldiers during the Civil War (1918-22), 626 in the struggle against the basmachi movement in Central Asia (1923-31), 187 in the 1929 Soviet-Chinese conflict, 353 in the Spanish Civil War, 9,920 in battles with the Japanese at the end of the 1930s, and 1,139 during the occupation of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus. During the SovietFinnish War the Soviet side lost 126,875, and suffered losses of 8,668,400 in World War II. During the Korean War (1950-53), the Soviet forces lost 299. During military assistance operations in Asia and Africa 145 Soviet soldiers died; in Hungary in 1956, 750; and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, 96 were killed. During the 1969 border dispute with China, 60 Soviet soldiers were killed. The Afghan war claimed 14,751 Soviet soldiers' lives. In the first Chechen war, 5,835 Russian soldiers died, and in the second 3,108 have died so far. PG

GUUAM MEMBERS TO CREATE FREE-TRADE ZONE. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko said in Minsk that an agreement on creating a free-trade zone will be signed at the upcoming summit in Yalta of GUUAM member states (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova), Caucasus Press reported on 2 June. Georgian President Shevardnadze said two days later that other countries, including Romania and Bulgaria, may join GUUAM in the near future. Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Kakha Sikharulidze had suggested on 31 May that Russia and Armenia could acquire observer status within GUUAM. Speaking at the CIS Minsk summit, Russian President Putin said organizations such as GUUAM and the Eurasian Economic Community complement the CIS rather than weaken it. LF

CIS HEAD OF STATES HOLD SUMMIT IN MINSK. The meeting of the CIS heads of state in Minsk on 1 June was long on ceremony but short on substance, an RFE/RL special correspondent reported. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope that efforts to establish a free-trade zone within the CIS would soon prove successful. "I think a free-trade zone practically has almost been formed. The Russian Federation has signed bilateral agreements with all CIS states. The question remains unresolved only with Ukraine," Putin told journalists. But Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko said the summit made no substantial progress on the establishment of a CIS free-trade zone, Interfax reported on 1 June. Zlenko noted that Ukraine has met all obligations required to join a CIS free-trade zone. Several leaders noted that the advantage of CIS summits is mainly in providing a venue for bilateral and trilateral meetings within a short period of time and with minimal costs. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PLEDGES TO STAFF NEW CABINET 'IN A FEW DAYS.' Leonid Kuchma said in Minsk on 31 May that the formation of Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh's cabinet will be completed "in a few days," Interfax reported. Kuchma noted that some Ukrainian politicians' forecasts about "trading in jobs" in the new cabinet have not come true. "Some thought that Anatoliy Kinakh's appointment was dependent on trading in government jobs at the expense of professionalism [of cabinet members]. I think you have become convinced that practically nobody traded in [cabinet] posts," Kuchma told journalists. JM

UKRAINIAN-POLISH ECONOMIC FORUM HELD IN DNIPROPETROVSK. Ukrainian President Kuchma and his Polish counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski met in Dnipropetrovsk on 3 May, where they attended an annual Ukrainian-Polish forum of several hundred businessmen, PAP reported. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamakus, who was also scheduled to participate in the forum, cancelled his trip to Dnipropetrovsk because of health reasons. JM