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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

TURKMEN PRESIDENT PASSES ON SUMMIT, PLANS MEETING WITH UKRAINIAN COUNTERPART. Saparmurat Niyazov will not attend a 13-16 September summit of CIS leaders in Astana, Kazakhstan, but he has invited Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to Ashgabat in late September to sign a gas accord between the two countries, Turkmen TV reported on 31 August. The signing of that accord, most recently scheduled for May 2004, has been repeatedly postponed (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 March 2004). Niyazov will not be able to go to the summit because he has a previously scheduled medical check-up with German doctors on 13-16 September, reported. The two presidents agreed in a telephone conversation, however, that President Kuchma will visit Turkmenistan in late September to discuss energy cooperation, Novosti-Ukraina reported. DK/LF

UKRAINIAN PREMIER, TOP RUSSIAN OFFICIAL OPEN 'RUSSIAN CLUB' IN KYIV. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and Russian presidential administration head Dmitrii Medvedev on 31 August opened a "Russian Club" at the Premyer Palats hotel in Kyiv, the only five-star hotel in Ukraine, UNIAN reported. Medvedev said the club is a "new stage" for those wanting to develop relations between Ukraine and Russia. Yanukovych said the Russian Club will "have a whole set of functions, primarily humanitarian and, of course, economic." Yanukovych added that initiatives that will come out of this club will be supported at the level of the Russian and Ukrainian governments, and that he already has an agreement on this with the Russian government. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST 'REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE.' President Leonid Kuchma visited three industrial companies in Crimea on 31 August, Ukrainian Television reported. "The country is on the right track just as these companies are," Kuchma said. "The main and most important thing that we need is stability. We need no revolutionary change because revolutions always lead to unpredictable circumstances. We have too many people who want drastic change but don't know what exactly." JM

EBRD LOANS UKRAINE $120 MILLION TO MODERNIZE RAILWAYS. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has allocated a $120 million loan for the Ukrzaliznytsya state railways to launch high-speed passenger railway services, Interfax reported on 31 August. In particular, the loan will be spent on purchasing carriages, buying equipment for railway track repairs, and renovating the Bezkydskyy railway tunnel. JM