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Ukraine: FBI Reportedly To Join Probe Into Journalist's Death

KYIV, 17 September (RFE/RL) -- Ukranian prosecutors said today that FBI agents from the United States will visit the country to take part in a probe into last year's murder of dissident journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, AFP reported, citing Internet paper "A group of FBI experts would already be in Ukraine, if the tragedy had not hit the U.S.," Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Baganets was cited by the agency as saying, referring to terrorist strikes on the U.S. east coast on 11 September.

Baganets added that the prosecutor's office was leading "a complete and impartial probe" into the affair, the agency reported.

Gongadze, who had been critical of President Leonid Kuchma in articles in his Internet newspaper, disappeared in September and his headless body was found in woods outside Kyiv in November.

Gongadze's mother, Lessia, has repeatedly called for international experts to verify the headless body was that her of her son.

His wife, Myroslava, appealed in an open letter to President Kuchma for an international investigation into her husband's death, Interfax reported on 12 September.

Kuchma has faced months of street protests by opposition supporters calling for his impeachment after a former bodyguard claimed to have recorded tapes of the Ukrainian leader ordering that Gongadze be kidnapped by "Chechen thugs."

Kuchma has strongly denied any role in the journalist's disappearance, and said that the tapes are a fake.