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UKRAINE'S RUSSIAN GRAIN SUPPLIES TO SWELL. Russian grain supplies to Ukraine are expected to total 1 million tons in 2003-04, according to the terms of an agreement reached during Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yanukovych's visit to Moscow on 1 August, Interfax reported, quoting Russian Agriculture Minister Aleksei Gordeev. Ukraine originally planned to import 200,000 tons of Russian grain, which will be supplied to the country's major industrial centers in August. The contingency supplies -- up to 1 million tons total -- are to start in September and hinge on how Ukraine's grain market develops, Gordeev said. Gordeev said the Russian Finance Ministry is still considering the price of the additional grain exports. Ukraine is expected to import 2.8 million tons of grain to compensate for a poor harvest this year. AM
'JANE'S INTELLIGENCE' RENEWS CRITICISM OF SLOVAK INTELLIGENCE SERVICE. The British defense publication "Jane's Intelligence Digest" renewed its criticism of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) on 1 August, asserting that the SIS continues to act without any democratic accountability, TASR reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 January 2003). The journal's Central European correspondent wrote that the SIS's alleged involvement in recent wiretapping scandals casts doubt on Slovakia's suitability as a future NATO member. The SIS has recently been recruiting communist-era secret agents and individuals who served the government of controversial former Premier Vladimir Meciar, the correspondent added. Citing unidentified sources within the SIS, "Jane's" said new SIS Director Ladislav Pittner met in June with a group of former high-ranking communist-era secret-service (StB) agents in eastern Slovakia to recruit them into the SIS. "Jane's" said some of those agents maintain ties with foreign secret services, namely those of Russia and Ukraine. The SIS responded by calling the story part of a "Jane's" campaign to discredit the SIS, adding that it "sees no point in responding to all the lies published." The SIS also said that for reasons of confidentiality, it cannot discuss the allegations in public. MS
KAZAKHSTAN IS A EUROPEAN COUNTRY, SAYS NATIONAL BANK CHAIRMAN. During a recent discussion on the future of the unified economic space that Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine are in the process of setting up (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 April 2003), Grigorii Marchenko, chairman of Kazakhstan's National Bank, asserted that Kazakhstan is a European country because the European part of Kazakhstan is larger than Ukraine, akipress.org reported on 1 August. Marchenko, a strong opponent of using the Russian ruble as the common currency of the unified economic space, added that it will not be possible to have a common currency in the free-trade zone before 2011 or 2012, and creation of a free-trade zone encompassing the European Union and the unified economic space will not happen before 2014, but that remains the ultimate objective of the participating countries. BB