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MOSCOW EXTRADITED 1,614 PEOPLE IN 2000. A spokesman for the Prosecutor-General's Office said on 14 June that Russia received 4,225 extradition requests from foreign countries and agreed to extradite 1,614 persons, Russian and Western agencies reported. The largest number were sent to Ukraine. International law department head Kostoev said "Russia extradites about 10 times more people than other countries give to us." PG

PROTESTS AGAINST PAPAL VISIT A 'SLAVIC INTIFADA,' PAPER SAYS. According to an article in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 14 June, the protests organized by the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine against the upcoming visit there by Pope John Paul II are nothing other than "a peaceful Slavic intifada." The paper claims that the visit represents a Catholic assault on Orthodoxy and has been instigated by former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski as part of a plan to replace Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma with a pro-U.S. politician. VY

ATTACKERS OF UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS. The Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Court on 14 June sentenced two brothers, Serhiy and Volodymyr Ivanchenko, as well as Andrei Samoilov to 15 years in prison each for organizing and carrying out a grenade attack on presidential candidate Natalya Vitrenko on 2 October 1999 (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 5 October 1999), Interfax reported. The court found Serhiy Ivanchenko guilty of organizing the attack, while Volodymyr Ivanchenko and Andrei Samoilov were found guilty of throwing two RGD-5 grenades into a crowd and injuring some 40 people, including Vitrenko. According to the court, the perpetrators' motive for the attack was to "help" Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz in his election campaign. Serhiy Ivanchenko repeatedly denied his guilt during the seven-month trial, accusing Ukraine's special services and President Leonid Kuchma of fabricating the case in order to discredit Moroz. JM

RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR SAYS UKRAINE HAS NEVER STOLEN RUSSIAN GAS. Russian Ambassador to Kyiv Viktor Chernomyrdin on 14 June made an enigmatic statement regarding the controversial issue of the siphoning of Russian transit gas by Ukraine. According to Interfax, Chernomyrdin confirmed the words of Gazprom former chief Rem Vyakhirev that Ukraine did not siphon Russian gas in 2000 and 2001. Asked by journalists to comment on President Kuchma's recent statement that Ukraine has never stolen Russian gas (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 June 2001), Chernomyrdin noted that "this did not happen." He added, however, that "there have been hitches, faults, and unsanctioned siphoning" in the transit of Russian gas across Ukraine in the winter periods of recent years. Chernomyrdin said the problem of Russian gas siphoning cannot be tackled with an "easy approach" because, he added, Ukraine's gastransport system works in a "complicated operation mode." JM

WORLD BANK TO LEND UKRAINE $350 MILLION THIS YEAR? Luca Barbone, the World Bank's director for Ukraine and Belarus, said in Kyiv on 14 June that the bank may give a $250 million tranche out of a $750 million loan to Ukraine by the end of this year if all disagreements over the reform of the country's largest bank Ukrayina are solved, AP reported. Barbone added that the bank also intends to conclude in December its work on granting a $100 million loan to help Ukraine issue some 6.5 million land-ownership certificates to farmers. Since the beginning of its cooperation with Ukraine in 1993, the World Bank has lent Kyiv $2.1 billion, Interfax reported. JM

POLISH PRESIDENT STRESSES PROPERTY RESTITUTION DIFFICULTIES. Aleksander Kwasniewski told journalists in Brussels on 13 June that he is willing to discuss property restitution with former owners, but added that he could agree only to compensation at a level of "several percent" of the value of lost assets, PAP reported. Kwasniewski noted that, owing to the considerable changes in its borders after World War II, Poland may face a huge number of property restitution claims from Germans, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Jews and an "extremely complicated" property restitution process. "We cannot be compared either to Hungary or the Czech Republic. We changed our borders, we lost 40 percent of our eastern territories and account for 30 percent of former German territory.... Ownership relations in Poland have been changed to a greater extent than in any other country, and it is utopia to expect that all this can be resolved by one legal act," Kwasniewski said. JM

MACEDONIA TO BUY AIRCRAFT FROM UKRAINE. The government is going ahead with plans to buy four Sukhoi-25 jets and four additional MI-24 helicopters, dpa reported from Skopje on 15 June, citing "Dnevnik" (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 8 June 2001). The daily added that pilots have already gone to Ukraine for training. PM