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Russian Firm Offers To Buy Ukraine's Largest Mobile Operator

(RFE/RL) 13 February 2006 -- Russia's second-largest mobile phone operator, Vimpelcom, has offered $5 billion to purchase Kyivstar, the largest mobile operator in Ukraine.

Vimpelcom CEO Aleksandr Izosimov said the purchase would put his company "firmly on track to become the No. 1" telecommunications firm in the CIS.

Vimpelcom said it would also assume $456 million of Kyivstar's debt.

The Russian firm has already purchased URS, which was Ukraine's fourth-largest mobile operator.

The offer to buy Kyivstar may cause tension between Vimpelcom's main shareholders, Russia's Alfa Group and Norway's Telenor. Those two groups disagree on Vimpelcom's strategy in Ukraine.


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