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IMF MAKES MONEY TO UKRAINE CONDITIONAL ON BUDGET, STATE COMPANY AUDIT... IMF II Department Director Julian Berengaut said on 15 November that the fund may release a subsequent tranche of $370 million to Ukraine in January 2002 if by that time the parliament adopts a "realistic budget," an international auditing firm completes the audit of the state-run Naftohaz Ukrayiny oil and gas giant, and the government agrees to increase tariffs for electricity supplied by privatized energy distribution companies, Interfax reported. Deputy Premier Vasyl Rohovyy said the previous day that IMF experts fully support the government's budget draft, which is currently being considered by the parliament. JM
...WHILE U.S. SENATE LINKS AID TO PROGRESS IN PROBES INTO JOURNALISTS' DEATHS. The U.S. Senate has adopted amendments to legislation providing for the U.S. government's assistance for the independent states of the former USSR in 2002, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported on 13 November. According to the bill, out of the $795.5 million appropriation proposed for the former Soviet republics, Ukraine is to receive $180 million, including $35 million to increase the safety of its nuclear reactors. The Senate makes assistance to Ukraine contingent on the Ukrainian government's progress in investigating the murders of Ukrainian journalists and obliges the Department of State to submit a relevant report on this progress to the Congress. JM
TRIAL OF BULGARIAN PREMIER'S ASSASSINS BEGINS IN SOFIA. Five men went on trail in Sofia on 14 November on charges related to the assassination of former Premier Andrei Lukanov in October 1996, AP reported. Ukrainian national Alexander Rusov is charged with having shot Lukanov and Alexei Kichatov, another Ukrainian, is charged with complicity to murder, by allegedly providing Rusov with a gun. Ukraine extradited both men last year at Bulgaria's request. Also charged with complicity are Bulgarian construction entrepreneur Angel Vasiliev, his nephew Georgi Georgiev and Yurii Lenev, a former employee of Vasiliev. Vasiliev is accused of ordering the assassination and his two associates of hiring the assassin. All five deny the charges. If found guilty, they face life imprisonment without parole. Vasiliev was extradited last year from the Czech Republic. MS