UKRAINE TO REMAIN BIGGEST CONSUMER OF RUSSIAN NATURAL GAS. Mikhailo Kovalko, the head of Ukraine's state oil and gas committee, told journalists in Kyiv on 11 September that Ukraine will remain the biggest consumer of Russian natural gas next year but will seek to reduce its dependence on Moscow in the future. He also said Russia has agreed to supply Ukraine with more than 45 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 1998, the same amount as this year. But Kovalko said Ukraine will buy 15 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan and several billion from Uzbekistan. Ukrainian Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko is due to fly to Moscow soon. Gas supplies are expected to be among the topics of discussion with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.