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Russia, Ukraine Agree To Defuse Tension Over Disputed Dam

Moscow, 24 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Moscow and Kyiv today agreed on reciprocal steps to defuse a row over a Russian dam being built near Ukrainian territorial waters. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, speaking after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich, confirmed that Moscow will suspend construction of a dam in the Sea of Azov and said Kyiv in return will withdraw its border guards from the area.

Both sides also agreed to intensify bilateral talks and settle their dispute within the next two or three months.

The dam is being built from Russia's Krasnodar Krai to the tiny Ukrainian island of Tuzla in an area linking the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.

Ukraine claims construction works are part of a Russian plan to annex Tuzla and the dispute recently escalated into an uneasy standoff.