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PUTIN SAID SEEKING TO MAKE NATO ALLIANCE 'ABSURD.' An article in "Komsomolskaya pravda" on 28 August said that President Putin's talk about possible Russian membership in NATO is intended to convert that alliance into something "absurd." The paper suggested that the inclusion of the Baltic countries in the near future and Ukraine later on is now likely and that Russia has to do something to render their membership meaningless. The paper added that Putin's effort to retain the ABM Treaty is linked to his plan to restore Russia as a great power internationally: Russia is economically irrelevant now, the paper said, but its nuclear potential puts it in the same class as the United States. VY
UKRAINE'S KYIV-PECHERSK LAVRA MARKS 950TH ANNIVERSARY. Delegations from 14 Orthodox churches around the world took part in official celebrations on 28 August of the 950th anniversary of the founding of Ukraine's central monastery, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Interfax reported. The celebrations were marred by disputes within the Ukrainian Orthodoxy, which remains divided into three parts: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Ukrainian Church. Only the first of these churches is recognized by world Orthodox dioceses as canonical. Representatives from the two other churches were not invited to a solemn liturgy in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, which is under the jurisdiction of the pro-Moscow branch of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. JM
UKRAINIAN TV CAMERAMAN BEATEN, HOSPITALIZED. Unidentified attackers on 27 August beat Oleksiy Movsesyan, a cameraman of the independent Efir-1 television in Luhansk, into unconsciousness, after which he was hospitalized, Interfax reported on 28 August. Police reportedly arrested several participants in the scuffle. Efir-1 Director Tetyana Kozhanovska suggested that Movsesyan could have been beaten for Efir-1's regular critical reporting on activities of the Luhansk City Council and Luhansk Mayor Volodymyr Landyk. Last week the station showed Landyk physically assaulting Movsesyan as he shot tape of City Council discussions. Movsesyan later complained to police about the attack. JM