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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-02

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Escaped Russian murderer found dead, suicide confirmed
  • [02] Barroso on occasion of Greek accession to EC

  • [01] Escaped Russian murderer found dead, suicide confirmed

    The body of a 23-year-old Russian man who escaped last week after killing two police guards while being transported in a police van was found on Monday along the banks of a river with a bullet wound in the head, and roughly 1.5 kilometres from where he initially fled.

    According to reports, Maxim Zhilin was clutching the revolver he took from one of the two slain officers. Authorities found the body near a remote riverside trout farm after local residents reported hearing a single gun shot in the early morning hours.

    Meanwhile, a Larissa coroner later in the afternoon confirmed reports that Zhilin had committed suicide by aiming and firing the revolver into his right temple. The time of death was determined as taking place 20 to 24 hours before the body was found.

    His body was found on the banks of the Malakasiotis River, a tributary of the Pinios River.

    Police believe the man attempted to cross the river in order to escape Special Forces search teams and was possibly exhausted after spending two days outdoors in adverse weather conditions without food.

    According to top police officials during a subsequent news conference, the escaped man was without shoes and wearing only the shirt and pants he wore during the escape, even though temperatures were routinely below zero throughout the time he was on the run. Additionally, authorities said the site where the body was found had been previously and repeatedly searched both by ground forces and from the air by helicopter crews.

    A manhunt was ordered late Friday morning for the Russian man after he killed the two policemen escorting him and two 17-year-old Albanians charged with minor drug offences from a detention centre in Ioannina to jails in Larissa and Volos. One of the Albanians was injured by gunfire in the police transport van, while the second teen, who escaped with Zhilin after the slayings, was apprehended on Sunday some 12 kilometres from the scene of the crime.

    The two police officers -- a driver and a guard -- were killed near the village of Malakasi in the Kalambaka district of Trikala prefecture (central Greece) on Friday when they made an unscheduled stop because the prisoners persistently asked to relieve themselves.

    According to reports, Zhilin asked the guard to remove the handcuffs he was wearing and when the guard complied, he attacked him and grabbed the officer's weapon, shooting him in the head. The Russian and one of the Albanians reportedly overpowered and killed the driver before fleeing, while the second Albanian was injured during the incident and declined to participate in the escape.

    As police had said shortly after the incident, Zhilin took the revolver he snatched from the officer with him, with only one bullet left in the revolver.

    Zhilin was jailed for the murder of a 42-year-old woman in Corfu on Oct. 2. The Russian had then posed as a hitchhiker before robbing and murdering the woman after she offered to give him a lift.

    [02] Barroso on occasion of Greek accession to EC

    European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday issued a statement on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Greece's accession to the European Communities, as well as on the 20th anniversary of Portuguese and Spanish accession to the European Communities.

    "... 25 years ago, Greece became a member of what was then the European Communities. 20 years ago, Portugal and Spain joined in, too. Today, we can proudly say that Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as Europe as a whole have all become much stronger as a result of the second and third enlargements.

    "The perspective of membership did much to consolidate democracy and encourage reform in these countries. Membership led to unprecedented development, the result of which was greater stability and greater competitiveness.

    "But the benefits of enlargement move in both directions.

    "The accession of these countries made Europe bigger and stronger. It consolidated Europe's Mediterranean and Atlantic dimensions, and opened up new vistas in Africa and Latin America.

    "The example of Greece, Spain and Portugal provides good evidence that enlargement is beneficial to the existing as well as to the acceding countries. One expression of this experience is the unstinting support Greece, Spain and Portugal have given to all enlargements which have followed - particularly the last one, towards Central and Eastern Europe.

    "Of course, we should not allow celebrations to slip into complacency. Greece, Spain and Portugal, like the rest of Europe, face new challenges. They must constantly adapt and reform in order to be fit for the 21st century and to reap the full benefits of globalisation.

    "But if they continue to progress over the next years how they have over the last decades, then they - and Europe as a whole - can look forward to a very bright future indeed," the statement concluded.


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