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Government takes step towards testing Melnychenko tapes on Gongadze murder

The Ukrainian government has allocated 850,000 hryvnyas ($159,000) to allow the Justice Ministry to submit audiotape purportedly implicating President Leonid Kuchma and other senior Ukrainian officials in the 2000 killing of Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze for international tests to determine its authenticity, Interfax reported on 8 January.

The tapes were recorded by Mykola Melnychenko, a former presidential bodyguard. The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office last year petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice to perform a joint analysis of the materials.

(RFE/RL 09.i.04)

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