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Yeltsin back in hospital for ulcer

PRESIDENT BORIS Yeltsin returned to hospital at the weekend after doctors discovered that a stomach ulcer, for which he received treatment in January, had not healed properly.

Yesterday his doctors said they had stopped the "minor bleeding" and he was in a "stable condition" in Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital, where they advised him to stay for the rest of the week.

The 68-year-old Kremlin leader had been making another attempt to return to active politics when he complained of weakness on Friday. He entered hospital the following day, where tests showed that the ulcer was bleeding. In spite of this, the Prime Minister, Yevgeniy Primakov, who has effectively taken over the day-to-day running of Russia, went ahead with his holiday plans and flew to the Black Sea resort of Sochi. "This shows nothing threatening has happened," the presidential spokesman said.

With each of Mr Yeltsin's relapses, the Communist and nationalist opposition has grown more insistent that the President should retire before his term expires next year. However, last week Mr Yeltsin appeared on TV to quash rumours that he intends to bow out in favour of his Prime Minister saying he would work to the last day of his presidency.