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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 13:16 GMT
Ukraine trims Kuchma privileges
Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Kuchma is expected to keep his luxury residence
Ukraine's new government has stripped former President Leonid Kuchma of some of his retirement privileges.

A government spokesman said Mr Kuchma's privileges contradicted the law on benefits for former leaders and would be scaled down.

Mr Kuchma's initial package - approved by the previous government days before he left office - included a pension, two cars and four drivers.

He was replaced by Viktor Yushchenko after November's disputed elections.

Under the new arrangements - in line with the 1992 law on benefits for ex-presidents - Mr Kuchma will receive a reduced pension and have less staff.

But Mr Kuchma, who was president for 10 of the 13 years after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union, is expected to keep the use of his presidential residence outside the capital.

The BBC's Helen Fawkes, in Kiev, says the move will come as no surprise to the former president, as the arrangements for Mr Kuchma's retirement had been criticised by the new administration.

The government is now reported to be planning changes to the law on benefits for former heads of state.

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