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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 <>


  • [01] Gov't talks to Russian, Ukraine envoys over natgas rift
  • [02] Escaped Russian murderer found dead, suicide confirmed
  • [03] Orthodox and Catholic senior clerics of Syros issue joint New Year message

  • [01] Gov't talks to Russian, Ukraine envoys over natgas rift

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Monday held separate meetings with the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine over a rift between the two countries involving natural gas prices.

    Moscow on Sunday cut supplies to Ukraine, which had rejected a fourfold price increase for the fuel, resulting in a decline in gas supplies to Europe through Ukrainian pipelines. State-run Gazprom of Russia has pledged to restore full deliveries to Europe by Tuesday evening.

    Sioufas told Russian envoy Andrey Vdovin that Russia and Ukraine should reach agreement as soon as possible in order to meet international agreements on gas supplies.

    The minister also underlined the importance of a pact between Greece and Russia on construction of a gas pipeline between Komotini and Alexandroupoli, and another agreement for construction of an oil pipeline between Burgas and Alexandroupoli.

    He also noted that Greece supported initiatives in the matter taken by the European Union's Austrian presidency.

    In a meeting with Ukrainian ambassador Valerii Tsybukh, Sioufas pointed out that although the price rift was bilateral, Greece believed a rapid solution was needed to avoid jeopardising supplies.

    Furthermore, the government also backed initiatives by other countries to aid resolution of the problem.

    [02] 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.

    [03] Orthodox and Catholic senior clerics of Syros issue joint New Year message

    Metropolitan of the island of Syros Dorotheos and Catholic Bishop of Syros Frangiskos sent a joint New Year message to the faithful of both the doctrines.

    In their joint message, the two senior clerics said "we are obligated to join our hands, in an inter-personal dialogue and a society of love which will eliminate the divisive lines and give to the people a message of peace and Christian solidarity."

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