UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER IN TASHKENT. Ukrainian Prime Minister Valerii Pustovoitenko was in the Uzbek capital on 16 January to attend the second meeting of the UkrainianUzbek cooperation commission, Tashkent Radio reported. The commission signed five agreements on cooperation in science and technology and improving communications between the two governments. Pustovoitenko also met with Uzbek Prime Minister Utkur Sultanov and reached a "preliminary agreement" on Uzbek shipments of up to 6 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine this year. They also discussed joint projects in passenger and cargo airplane construction and Ukrainian assistance in building new rail tracks in Uzbekistan. BP

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT IGNORES PARLIAMENT'S CALL FOR DISMISSALS. The cabinet has rejected a demand by the parliament to sack Prime Minister Valerii Pustovoitenko and two other senior officials, dpa reported on 17 January. By a margin of one vote, the parliament on 16 January passed a nonbinding resolution that called on President Leonid Kuchma to fire Pustovoitenko, Culture and Arts Minister Dmytro Ostapenko, and Kyiv Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko for allegedly embezzling $40 million during the renovation of Kyiv's main concert/conference hall, which was completed in 1996. PB

CRIMEANS PROTEST UKRAINE-RUSSIA TREATY. A few hundred pro-Moscow protesters in the Crimean seaport of Sevastopol urged the Russian State Duma not to ratify the political accord between Moscow and Kyiv, which the Ukrainian parliament recently approved (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 January 1998), Interfax reported on 17 January. Among other things, the treaty consolidates Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea. The demonstrators claimed that Kyiv officials are "Ukrainianizing" the mostly Russian peninsula. They called for a referendum to help decide Crimea's status. PB