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...AS NATIONAL RESERVE CORPORATION STEPS UP PRESSURE ON UKRAINE. The National Reserve Corporation, the investment arm of Russia's National Reserve Bank, announced on 8 June that it is suspending investment in Ukraine "due to changes in the business climate following numerous conflicting statements and actions by officials and agencies regarding the results of privatization," ITAR-TASS reported. The announcement came just one day after Gazprom announced major price hikes for gas supplied to Ukraine and asked Ukraine to compensate it for some 7.8 billion cubic meters of stored gas that allegedly went missing during the Orange Revolution (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 June 2005). RC

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT REPORTEDLY TO CONTEST 22 PRIVATIZATIONS. Borys Sobolev, deputy state secretary in Ukraine's Presidential Secretariat, said at a roundtable on the investment environment in Ukraine in Kyiv on 8 June that the government will continue to challenge in court the privatization of 22 companies, while abandoning claims regarding other privatized businesses. Sobolev added that lawyers at the Presidential Secretariat are mulling the adoption of a legal act that could grant amnesty to companies privatized under questionable circumstances. Last week, State Property Fund Chairwoman Valentyna Semenyuk said her organization is currently challenging in court the privatization of 194 facilities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 June 2005). Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko said the same day that the Kryvorizhstal steel plant might be reprivatized by the end of this year. The controversial privatization of Kryvorizhstal in 2004 was annulled by the Kyiv Appellate Economic Court last week, but the verdict may still be contested in Ukraine's Higher Economic Court and Supreme Court. JM

FORMER UKRAINIAN SECURITY CHIEF REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF ARMS SMUGGLING. Ihor Smeshko, former head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), said in a statement on 8 June that the recently voiced allegations that he was involved in arms smuggling are a "cynical lie," Interfax reported. Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun said at a news conference in Kyiv the previous day that Smeshko and two other officials have been implicated in an illegal arms deal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 June 2005). JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WINDS UP TRIP TO TURKEY. President Viktor Yushchenko has returned to Ukraine from a 6-8 June official visit to Turkey, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported on 9 June. Yushchenko met with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and other government officials in Ankara and Constantinople Patriarch Bartolomew I in Istanbul. "Our countries don't have problems in the political sphere," Yushchenko told a Turkish-Ukrainian business forum in Istanbul on 8 June. "We have a common strategic line towards the European Union." JM

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT REQUESTS EU HELP IN BORDER MONITORING. During his visit to the EU and NATO headquarters in Brussels and Strasbourg on 7-8 June, Vladimir Voronin handed EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana a letter, signed also by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, asking the EU to offer assistance in establishing an international customs control on the Transdniester segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, Reuters reported. Solana told journalists that Brussels needs to analyze the letter before deciding how to react. "Moldova firmly favors the involvement of the European Union, the United States, and Romania in the negotiations on the Transdniester settlement," ITAR-TASS quoted Voronin as saying at a news conference on 8 June. Voronin added that the talks in the current five-party format involving Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have proven fruitless. Voronin also stressed that an unconditional and complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Transdniester could speed up the resolution of the Chisinau-Tiraspol conflict, Infotag reported. JM