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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINE HOSTS GUAM SUMMIT. The presidents of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (GUAM) met in the Crimean resort of Yalta on 19-20 July and signed a number of accords, including on the creation of a free-trade zone and on combating money laundering, organized crime, and terrorism, Western and Ukrainian media reported. GUAM was set up in 1997 as a political, economic, and strategic alliance designed to seek mechanisms of interaction outside Russian influence. Uzbekistan joined in 1999, but announced last month that it was "suspending" its membership (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 and 26 June 2002). It was nonetheless represented at the Yalta summit by the Uzbek ambassador to Ukraine, Shakhmansur Shakhalilov. JM

METHANE BLAST KILLS SIX UKRAINIAN MINERS, WOUNDS 18. A methane explosion at the Yuvileyna coal mine in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on 21 July killed six miners and wounded 18, UNIAN reported. The blast came two weeks after a fire killed 34 workers at another Ukrainian mine (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 July 2002). Since 1991, 3,700 miners have been killed in job-related accidents in Ukraine. JM

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL WANTS MELNYCHENKO TAPES TO BE VERIFIED ABROAD. Svyatoslav Pyskun, Ukraine's newly appointed prosecutor-general, has ordered a test abroad of secret recordings made by former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko in President Leonid Kuchma's office that link the Ukrainian president to the murder of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, Reuters reported on 19 July. "The prosecutor-general has announced a full authentication in a third country, which has a high level of modern electronic technology and has not before taken part in the investigation of the tape," Pyskun said in a statement. He also ordered new genetic tests on a headless body believed to be that of Gongadze. JM