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* Russian energy giant Gazprom encouraged Ukraine to set signing a contract on the transit of Russian natural gas to Europe at European prices as a priority

* Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia and the European Union could sign an agreement on easing visa restrictions and readmitting illegal immigrants in spring 2006

* Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said a delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had not found major violations during Sunday's parliamentary elections in the North Caucasus republic

* The Moscow Lefortovo Court found Alexei Kurtsin, the property manager of the Moscow branch of embattled oil company Yukos, guilty of embezzling Yukos assets

* Sberbank, Russia's largest state-owned savings bank, posted pre-tax profits of $2.45 billion in the first ten months of 2005, representing a 52.6% year-on-year increase

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer discussed preparations for the Russia-NATO Council's upcoming ministerial session

* Moldova began exporting domestically-produced oil-derived products for the first time

* The Emergency Situations Ministry said the concentration of chemicals in the Far Eastern Amur River, threatened with contamination by a toxic spill from China, would not exceed the maximum allowable concentration levels by threefold

* Leonid Roshal, the famous Russian pediatric surgeon, said that BusinessWeek's decision to include him in its "25 Stars of Europe" list was an honor for Russia

* Russian Space Agency head Anatoly Perminov said Russia was expecting a breakthrough in Russian-U.S. space cooperation following the bill on amendments to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, recently signed by the U.S. president

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