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SPOKESMAN DENIES TERRORISM FEARS BEHIND POSTPONEMENT OF UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT'S GEORGIAN VISIT. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's spokeswoman Irina Gerashenko told Georgia's Imedi television station on 27 July that an article published on 27 July in the independent newspaper "Rezonansi" alleging that Yushchenko postponed a visit to Georgia originally scheduled for 26 July due to fears that his plane could be shot down is untrue, Caucasus Press reported. On 26 July, Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili claimed that "terrorists" in South Ossetia have four Igla portable ground-to-air missiles capable of downing civilian or military aircraft (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 July 2005). LF

KYRGYZSTAN BEGINS TRANSFER OF UZBEK REFUGEES TO THIRD COUNTRIES... Carlos Zaccagnini, head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) mission in Kyrgyzstan, announced in Bishkek on 27 July the beginning of an operation to transfer 451 Uzbek refugees from a camp in southern Kyrgyzstan to the country's Manas international airport in preparation for transport to a third country, Kabar reported. Zaccagnini declined to disclose the refugees' final destination for security reasons. He said all 451 refugees would be removed from the camp, with the final 100 arriving at Manas airport on 29 July. Zaccagnini told RFE/RL that he believed all the refugees would be taken to the same country. But Astrid van Genderen Stort, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Geneva, told RFE/RL that it was "not sure whether they are going to one country or whether they are going to two or three." Various reports listed Canada, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine as possible final destinations. A spokesperson for the Czech Republic's Interior Ministry confirmed to RFE/RL that "the Czech Republic is one of the countries being considered as a host for some of the Uzbek refugees." Canadian officials said that Canada could accept up to 50 refugees, Reuters reported. DK

UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SEEKS ISRAELI, RUSSIAN COOPERATION IN MODERNIZING FIGHTER FLEET. Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko, upon returning from a 24-26 July visit to Israel, told reporters in Kyiv that he met with the management of the Israeli company Elbit and discussed a feasibility study on modernizing Ukraine's fleet of MIG-29 fighter jets, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 27 July. Hrytsenko said that it will be necessary to include the Russian company that originally built the fighters in the project. According to, Ukraine presently has 237 MiG-29s, of which 62 are operational. RK

FORMER UKRAINIAN PREMIER'S U.S. SENTENCING AGAIN POSTPONED. The sentencing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko in the Federal District Court in San Francisco has once again been postponed, Interfax reported on 28 July. The sentencing, which was due to take place on 27 July, was postponed till 2 December. According to Lazarenko's attorney, he might be fined $4.5 million-$5 million and might not be sentenced to prison. However, the court rejected the defense's request for a new trial and ordered Lazarenko to appear for sentencing on 2 December. He was found guilty on 14 charges related to money laundering and fraud, each carrying a term of imprisonment of 20 years. RK

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS ANTIPIRACY LAW. Viktor Yushchenko has signed into law amendments to the Criminal Code that prohibit CD piracy, Interfax reported on 28 July. The law was passed on 6 July by parliament and sets responsibility for operations involving the production, export, and import of CDs and, equipment for their production. According to the amendments, the import of stamper disks and specialized equipment for CD production shall be licensed as a form of economic activity. RK

FORMER MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SAYS MOSCOW STILL KEY TO SETTLING TRANSDNIESTER CONFLICT. A solution to the Transdniester conflict depends greatly on Moscow, Mircea Snegur, the first president of Moldova, told the Russian newspaper "Argumenty i fakty" on 27 July. "The Transdniestrian conflict must be settled at any cost, but not through federalization.... However, I am sure of one thing: it is very hard to negotiate with the Transdniestrian leaders," Snegur said. "It will be good if the Ukrainian plan helps us solve the problem. However, I think that Moscow keeps a great interest for the region. It means that the settlement of this conflict depends on Russia a lot," he concluded (see End Note, "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 July 2005). RK