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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

RUSSIA, UKRAINE PUSH AHEAD ON ENERGY COOPERATION... President Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met in St. Petersburg on 9 June and signed a joint statement ordering their respective governments immediately to prepare a bilateral agreement on strategic cooperation in the natural gas sphere, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. The statement outlined the proposed agreement, calling for the creation of a consortium that would manage and develop Ukraine's gas-transport system. Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko said that the agreement "will enhance the reliability of Russian gas deliveries to Europe in the long term," the news agency reported.

...REACHES AGREEMENT WITH UKRAINE ON GAS DEBTS. Agreement has been reached on a schedule for repayment of Ukraine's $46 million debt to Turkmenistan for supplies of natural gas received in 2002, Neftegaz Ukrainy President Yurii Boyko told journalists in Kyiv on 8 June ITAR-TASS reported. A protocol has also been signed on the repayment schedule for an outstanding $65 million debt for Turkmen gas supplied in 1999. LF

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT HOPES FOR PARLIAMENT'S SMOOTH OPERATION... President Leonid Kuchma said on 7 June that following the distribution of the posts of committee heads among parliamentary caucuses, "the Verkhovna Rada has finally unblocked its work," UNIAN reported. "Now it is necessary calmly to pass the laws required by the country," he added. Earlier the same day, parliament voted by 235 to seven, with three abstentions, to approve a resolution whereby Our Ukraine will head 10 parliamentary committees, the Communist Party six, United Ukraine four, the Socialist Party and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc two each, and the Social Democratic Party one. JM

KYIV HAS 2.6 MILLION RESIDENTS. According to last year's national census, 2,607,400 people lived in Kyiv as of December 2001, UNIAN reported on 10 June. JM