PRIMAKOV UPBEAT ON RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE. Following a meeting in Moscow with his Ukrainian counterpart, Gennadiy Udovenko, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov said Moscow and Kyiv have no problems "that would divide us or place us on different sides of a
barricade," RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Udovenko came to Moscow to prepare the ground for an informal meeting between Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 30-31 January. The two presidents are scheduled to have an official summit next month. Primakov dismissed speculation that the impromptu informal meeting was arranged because of problems related to February's official meeting. In addition, he predicted that the Russian State Duma will ratify the friendship treaty signed with Ukraine last May. Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev has also said the Duma will approve that treaty when it comes up for debate in early February. LB

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DECREES LOWER BUDGET DEFICIT... Leonid Kuchma on 21 January issued a decree reducing the country's 1998 budget deficit, ITAR-TASS reported. Government spending is to be cut and increased revenues sought from privatization and taxes in an effort
to reduce the deficit to 2.5 percent of GDP, down from the original budget's projected 3.3 percent. National Bank head Viktor Yushchenko had recommended that the deficit be held to 2 percent, but he said he supports the decree because it brings the deficit in line "with possible credits." Meanwhile, a
Ukrainian delegation that included Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tyhypko and Finance Minister Ihor Mytyukov arrived in Washington on 22 January to hold talks with World Bank and IMF officials. PB