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MONUMENT TO VICTIMS OF STALINISM VANDALIZED IN KARELIA. Unknown persons severely vandalized a bas-relief honoring victims of Stalinism at a memorial cemetery in Medvezhegorsk in Karelia, regnum.ru reported on September 7. Thousands of victims are buried at the site, which attracts thousands of visitors each year from the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Finland, and other countries. PM
UKRAINIAN, POLISH PREMIERS SEEK TO EXTEND ODESA-BRODY OIL PIPELINE... Meeting at an economic forum in Krynica Gorska in Poland on September 6, Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his Polish counterpart Jaroslaw Kaczynski confirmed their intention to extend the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline -- which was completed in 2001 -- to the city of Plock in Poland, UNIAN reported. In May 2003, Ukraine, Poland, and the European Union signed a declaration of intent to work toward extending the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline to Poland in order to transport Caspian oil to Europe. The project, however, had failed to progress beyond the planning stage. The Odesa-Brody oil pipeline remained idle until July 2004, when the Ukrainian oil pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta and the Russian oil company TNK-BR signed a three-year contract to ship 9 million tons of Russian oil annually through the Odesa-Brody pipeline in the reverse direction, that is, from Brody to an oil terminal in the Black Sea port of Odesa. "Decisive steps have to be made now. As they say, we need to move from words to deeds. First, light Caspian oil has to be found -- and such a possibility is there -- from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, who have said they're interested in being involved in the project. Then, a lot in building the pipeline will depend on Poland," Ukrainian Television quoted Yanukovych as saying in Krynica Gorska. JM
...AS ENERGY ON AGENDA DURING UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO AZERBAIJAN. President Viktor Yushchenko left on September 7 for a two-day visit to Azerbaijan, UNIAN reported. On the agenda are talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, government officials, and a trip to parliament. Trade and economic cooperation are expected to dominate the talks -- primarily pertaining to gas and oil. The Russian daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta" speculated on September 7 that Yushchenko is seeking to reduce Moscow's influence on Ukraine by securing commitments for Azerbaijani energy supplies to feed the Odesa-Brody pipeline. In May, Aliyev pledged to deliver crude to Europe via the pipeline. Ukraine's Naftohaz and Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR are expected to formally sign a cooperation agreement during the visit. The agreement reportedly includes provisions for cooperation in the production, refining, and exploration of oil and gas in the two countries. Azerbaijani media has predicted that Yushchenko and Aliyev will use their visit to discuss ways of strengthening the GUAM alignment of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. MS