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Russian Premier Calls Halt To Disputed Dam

Moscow, 22 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov (pictured) today called for a suspension of work on a dam being built near Ukraine's sea border that has enraged politicians in Kyiv. The two countries are at odds over a dam Russia is building in the Kerch Strait, a narrow channel connecting the Azov Sea and the Black Sea.

Ukraine says Russia began building the dam without permission and the barrier will cause ecological damage in Ukraine.

Kasyanov's office said that the prime minister suggested that local authorities "suspend the work for several days pending talks on the matter."

Kasyanov and Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich have planned talks on the project for later in the week. Earlier today, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma cut short a trip to Brazil because of the dispute.