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GAZPROM HEAD TALKS WITH UKRAINIAN MINISTER. Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters in Moscow on August 9 that talks between Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko "considered current issues regarding cooperation in the gas sector," RIA Novosti reported (see "Ukraine: Gas Test Awaits New Government," rferl.org, August 9, 2006). It is not clear what, if anything, resulted from the talks. Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia Oleh Dyomin denied any knowledge of Boyko's visit, saying that "perhaps he is making a private trip." Boyko is the former head of Naftohaz Ukrayiny, which is Ukraine's principal oil and gas company. The rise of Party of Regions head Viktor Yanukovych to the post of Ukrainian prime minister has led to speculation that the new political climate there could result in Russian concessions when gas negotiations resume. The Party of Regions is widely considered to be pro-Russia, which in turn was seen as a Yanukovych supporter during his 2004 presidential run. But "Novye izvestia" commented on August 9 that "Ukraine's new prime minister is not as pro-Russian as he once was." PM
UKRAINIAN RADIO STATION ASKS FOR PROBE INTO ATTACK ON EMPLOYEES. Nashe Radio (Our Radio) has appealed to President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, and Prosecutor-General Oleksandr Medvedko to take under personal control the investigation into an attack against three Nashe Radio employees, UNIAN reported on August 10. Nashe Radio Director Bohdan Bolkhovetskyy told journalists on August 10 that unidentified assailants, following a collision between their car and that of the Nashe Radio employees on a street in Kyiv on August 8, abducted the broadcasters and took them out of town. "The assailants demanded the return of a briefcase about which none of the kidnapped knew anything," Bolkhovetskyy said. "[The assailants] interrogated our men for four hours, got information about their relatives, and threatened to make short work of them. They beat one of our men, made him kneel down, and shot repeatedly over his head. Then they took [our men's] money and mobile phones and released them." JM
UKRAINE POSTS 11.4 PERCENT INDUSTRIAL GROWTH IN JULY. Ukraine's industrial output grew by 11.4 percent year-on-year in July and 4.8 percent year-on-year in January-July 2006, Interfax-Ukraine reported on August 9, citing the State Statistics Committee. In 2005, Ukraine's industrial growth slowed down to 3.1 percent, compared to 12.5 percent in 2004. JM