Morning re-cap of main news, July 20

* Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the Georgian parliament's resolution on the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia had no practical significance

* Finland, which currently holds the European Union presidency, expressed the EU's concern over the situation in Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, following the Georgian parliament's decision on Russian peacekeepers

* The Russian Foreign Ministry said:

- The armed conflict in Lebanon and the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories are undermining international efforts to resolve the Mideast conflict, and threaten to boost Islamic extremism around the world

-The scale of destruction caused in Lebanon by the Israeli military has gone far beyond Israel's stated goals

- Russia has evacuated 1,407 of its nationals and citizens of former Soviet Republics from Lebanon

- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Alexander Saltanov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, agreed on the need for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict in Lebanon

* UN Secretary General Kofi Annan blamed Hizbollah militants for the latest spiral of violence in the Middle East, but called Israel's response excessive

* Israel's prime minister rejected a UN call to halt military operations in Lebanon, but said his country would not impede humanitarian aid deliveries to Lebanon via Cyprus.

* Israeli Ambassador in Russia Arkady Mil-Man said:

- Israel is hoping for Russian assistance to secure the release of two soldiers seized by Lebanon-based radical group Hizbollah

- Israeli is not planning to launch a major ground offensive in Lebanon

- Israel is not setting a deadline on its military operation against Hizbollah

- Israel disagrees with Russia's refusal to consider Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon's Hizbollah terrorist organizations but recognizes its right to this position

- Israel is considering evacuating thousands of children from the north of the country

- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov will visit Israel next week to discuss the situation in the Middle East

* The first stage of an operation to evacuate Russians from Lebanon is over, but 100-150 Russian citizens could still be in Lebanon, said Yury Brazhnikov, from the Emergency Situations Ministry

* The Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia had proposed sending humanitarian aid to Lebanon immediately

* The head of embattled Russian oil company Yukos Steven Theede has resigned, a company spokesman said

* Yukos creditors voted to postpone a meeting until July 25

* Yukos confirmed it had received an offer from Gazprom to buy the oil company's 20% stake in Gazprom Neft, formerly Sibneft

* Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko met with his former rival Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the main pro-Russia party, to discuss ways to pull the country out of the ongoing political crisis

* Ukraine's leader will support the candidacy of his former presidential rival, pro-Russian Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych, for prime minister, an informed source in the Ukrainian parliament said

* Ukraine's main opposition force, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, walked out of parliament and called for new elections

* Sea Breeze 2006, a U.S.-Ukrainian naval exercise, was officially canceled

* TNK-BP has floated $1.5-bln in Eurobonds with maturities in 2011 and 2016, the press office of the Russian-British joint oil venture said

* The first launch of a new generation carrier rocket, Soyuz-2.1a, has been delayed for two months for technical reasons, a spokesman for the Federal Space Agency said

* Iran will produce a limited amount of nuclear fuel on its territory to satisfy the country's energy demands, the Supreme National Security Council said

* Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited (SMBCE, LSE) has extended a $130 million to Vnesheconombank (VEB), Russia's state-run foreign economic bank said.

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