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RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ACCUSES GEORGIA OF PLANNING TO DEPLOY GUAM FORCES TO REPLACE RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS. Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov accused Georgia on September 25 of seeking to use the "military potential in peacekeeping activities" of the GUAM alliance for replacing Russian peacekeepers deployed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Interfax reported. The new full name of the group comprising Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova is the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development-GUAM. Ivanov warned that the Georgian authorities are seeking to use "the presence of additional forces" to "flex its muscles, as was the case recently in the Kodori Gorge," and to give Georgia greater leverage in its "confrontation" with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Ivanov added that "it is natural that Russia, which favours a settlement of existing conflicts only through political methods, will find equivalent measures so as not to permit the development of the situation according to that scenario." RG

UKRAINE COMMEMORATES BABYN YAR MASSACRE. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on September 26 launched two days of commemoration for the 65th anniversary of the Nazi massacre at Babyn Yar, Ukrainian and international media reported. On September 29-30, 1941, invading Nazis killed more than 33,000 Jewish men, women, and children in the Babyn Yar ravine near Kyiv. During the war up to 100,000 more people -- including Jews, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and Ukrainian nationalists -- were executed at the site. "Babyn Yar must become a link that should forewarn and guard the world from aggressive and bloody xenophobia," Yushchenko said during the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the massacre in Kyiv. The ceremony was attended by Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Croatian President Stipe Mesic, and Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic. JM