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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kuchma Seeks FBI Help in Gongadze Case Kuchma Seeks FBI Help in Gongadze Case

KIEV, Ukraine - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, under pressure in a scandal over a missing journalist, urged investigators Friday to seek the help of the American FBI to identify a headless corpse at the centre of the case.

"President Leonid Kuchma has called on the prosecutor general to work with Federal Bureau of Investigation experts who should use their expertise to identify the corpse," the president's office said in a statement.

The request meets a key demand of opposition parties, who have organised street protests calling for Kuchma to quit over allegations that he was involved in the disappearance of journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

Kuchma denies any involvement, but has faced calls from within Ukraine, the European Union and the United States to try to clear up the mystery, which has snowballed into Ukraine's biggest political scandal in a decade.

Gongadze, a vocal critic of Kuchma, disappeared last year. DNA tests show a headless corpse found outside Kiev in November is almost certainly his body, but prosecutors have yet to declare the journalist dead, which would trigger a murder probe.

Opposition parties and relatives of the journalist have called for independent experts to carry out more DNA tests. Initial tests by Russian experts established a 99.6 percent probability the body was Gongadze's.

On Thursday, the man leading the Gongadze investigation, Prosecutor General Mikhailo Potebenko, survived a second parliamentary vote of no-confidence. Opposition parties said they would fight on.