News in Brief

Bush to Visit Ukraine



BRUSSELS -- U.S. President George W. Bush will visit Ukraine at the end of this month, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday, a visit timed just days before a NATO decision on ties with the former Soviet state.

NATO allies are to decide at a NATO summit to be held April 2 to 4 in Bucharest whether to meet Ukraine's request for a framework on steps toward possible membership in the alliance.

Russia is deeply opposed to Kiev's membership aspirations and several West European countries have reservations about advancing rapidly with Ukraine. (Reuters)




Rice and Gates Are Coming



WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates will travel to Moscow on Monday and Tuesday for discussions with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a wide range of bilateral issues, White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday.

In a phone call last week, Bush and Putin agreed that the meeting would be a good idea, Perino said. (AP)




Yabloko Out of Office



ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg authorities have told the local Yabloko party branch to leave its headquarters.

The news came on Wednesday, a day after Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky met President Vladimir Putin to seek the release of the party's St. Petersburg head Maxim Reznik.

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Yury Molchanov told Yabloko in a letter that the building needed repairs. (Reuters)