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Monday, 29 December, 1997, 20:03 GMT
Zhirinovsky ordered to apologise to reporter

A Moscow court has ordered the Russian ultra-nationalist leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, to pay almost five-thousand-dollars in damages to a journalist he'd accused of being in the pay of Chechen separatists.

The journalist, Yelena Masyuk, won international recognition for her reporting of the Chechen war for the Russian NTV channel.

She and two colleagues were held hostage in Chechnya for three months earlier this year.

The judges also ordered Mr Zhirinovsky who heads the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia to apologise to the journalist.

Last year he'd alleged that Mrs Masyuk had taken money from the Chechens for filing reports sympathetic to the separatists during their war with Russian troops.

Mr Zhirinovsky himself was absent from court: he was in Tripoli having talks with the Libyan leader, Colonel Gadaffi.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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