News in Brief

French Ambassador Held



Russian troops briefly detained France's ambassador to Georgia on Thursday as he tried to enter the town of Gori, near the border of the breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia, said a spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Tbilisi.

Ambassador Eric Fournier was detained at a Russian checkpoint near Gori, Gazeta.ru reported.

General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the General Staff of Russia's armed forces, said Russian officers "would not let [Fournier] enter the security zone because [he] had arrived in the region without notifying the Russian side in advance." He denied that Fournier had been detained.

Fournier was stopped at the checkpoint along with representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe, Nogovitsyn said, Interfax reported. (MT)




Tymoshenko Investigated



The Ukrainian president's office has submitted materials to the country's security agency about Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko's connections to Russia after an official in the office said she had committed "high treason."

The documents contain information about activities of the Ukrainian Cabinet that may damage the country's national interests, the Security Service of Ukraine said Thursday in a statement on its web site. The agency said it would study the documents and take steps toward prosecution if it uncovers illegal activities.

Andriy Kyslynskyi, a senior official in Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's office, accused Timoshenko of "high treason" this week, saying Russian authorities plan to sponsor a political campaign with the aim of helping her win a presidential election scheduled for 2010. (Bloomberg)




Moldova Seeks EU Help



CHISINAU, Moldova -- Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said he would ask the European Union to help his country peacefully resolve its crisis with the separatist region of Transdnestr.

Voronin said peacekeeping forces in former Soviet regions must be restructured and that the EU and the UN should help countries such as Moldova prevent such conflicts. Russia has 1,500 troops stationed in Transdnestr to guard Soviet-era arms storage facilities. (AP)