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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

KYRGYZ MILITARY OFFICIALS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN NATO EXERCISES. Three representatives of Kyrgyzstan's Defense Ministry have been invited to take part in NATO military exercises in Lviv, Ukraine, reported on 16 July. The exercises are being organized under NATO's Partnership for Peace (PFP) program, of which Kyrgyzstan has been an active participant since it was established in the early 1990s. In Lviv, the Kyrgyz participants will join contingents from 12 other PFP states and eight NATO members to undergo training as multinational battalions in the use of computer systems and in field exercises. The objective of the exercises is to establish a common understanding of the tasks involved in peacekeeping operations. BB

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT PASSES DRAFT AGREEMENT ON RUSSIAN OIL TRANSIT. The Ukrainian government approved a draft 15-year agreement with Russia on 16 July on the transit of oil through Ukraine, Fuel and Energy Minister Serhiy Yermilov told Interfax. The government thus authorized Yermilov to sign the agreement, which applies to all Ukrainian pipelines except the Odesa-Brody project (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 2003). The document allows Russian oil companies to transit up to 79.5 million tons of oil annually through Ukraine. Ukraine is currently using less than half of its pipeline network's capacity, according to Yermilov. AM

UKRAINE, POLAND DISCUSS IRAQI TASKS. Ukrainian and Polish Defense Ministers Yevhen Marchuk and Jerzy Szmajdzinski met in Krakow on 16 July to discuss the final stage of their military contingents' preparations for the international stabilization mission to Iraq, PAP and Interfax reported. Marchuk and Szmajdzinski praised the Polish-Ukrainian battalion Polukrbat and discussed the legal grounds for further cooperation in military training, education, and joint rescue missions. The Polish-Ukrainian cooperation program in 2003 includes 68 projects, 34 of which are to take place in Poland, 33 in Ukraine, and one in Kosova. AM