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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN LAWMAKER MOVES TO HOIST PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION BARRIER TO 7 PERCENT. Mykhaylo Pozhyvanov, a lawmaker of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine caucus in the Verkhovna Rada, has registered a draft bill proposing to raise the vote threshold to qualify parties for parliamentary representation from 3 percent to 7 percent, UNIAN reported on 25 August. Pozhyvanov's move follows Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's call the previous day to lift the voting barrier in order to have a more efficient legislature (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 August 2005). JM

TRANSDNIESTER GRANTS AMNESTY TO UNSPECIFIED NUMBER OF PRISONERS. The Transdniestrian authorities have granted amnesty to an unspecified number of prisoners in a move to mark the 15th anniversary of the region's secession from Moldova, BASA reported on 25 August. The amnesty reportedly applies mainly to veterans of the 1992 war between Transdniestrian secessionists and Moldovan troops, to those of the Soviet-era Afghan war, and to people who participated in cleanup work after the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. The authorities of the breakaway region will also pardon convicts suffering from tuberculosis. Local doctors have reportedly expressed concern over the amnesty, saying that most prisoners suffering from tuberculosis have declined to undergo treatment after they are released. Official accounts show that nearly one-third of prisoners in Transdniestrian penitentiaries are infected with tuberculosis. JM

RUSSIAN LEADERSHIP HEADS TO KAZAN FOR CIS SUMMIT, KAZAN MILLENNIUM CELEBRATION... President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov arrived in Kazan on 26 August to participate in the Tatarstan capital's millennium celebrations, RTR,, and other Russian media reported. Putin was to preside over a State Council meeting devoted to interethnic relations in Russia and to take part in a summit of CIS leaders that is to examine ways to reform the organization, RIA-Novosti and reported. On 27 August, Putin is to attend a summit of the four members of the Single Economic Space (SES) -- Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. He is also expected to meet separately with several leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, RIA-Novosti reported. VY