U.S. DIPLOMAT WARNS KYIV ABOUT LOSS OF AID. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer said on 20 March that Kyiv is in danger of losing half of its annual aid from Washington, an RFE/RL correspondent in Kyiv reported. Pifer said that he does not believe U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will be able to report progress by the Ukrainian government on resolving disputes with U.S. businesses when she makes a report to Congress on 30 April. Pifer said that if Kyiv lost half of this year's approved $225 million in aid, it would be a clear signal by the U.S. that "Ukraine is not a good place to do business." PB

KUCHMA ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma urged young voters to go to the polls on 29 March to counterbalance the votes of older, conservative citizens, Reuters reported on 21 March. Kuchma said in Kyiv that "our task is to ensure" that young people will vote, saying they are the greatest supporters of progressive policies. Pensioners make up nearly one-third of the Ukrainian population and are the main supporters of the Communist Party, which is leading in all opinion polls. Kuchma said that he is ready to "cooperate with any parliament" but that both sides will have to compromise. He also criticized centrist parties for not uniting to form one bloc. PB

ODESSA MEETING FAILS TO RESOLVE MAIN TRANSDNIESTRIAN ISSUES. Talks in Odessa on the status of the separatist Transdniestrian region failed to resolve the main outstanding issues, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported on 20 March. Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi, separatist leader Igor Smirnov, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin attended the talks. Chisinau and Tiraspol agreed, however, that, as a confidence-building measure, each would reduce the number of its troops deployed in the security zone from 2,000 to 1,500 troops. It was also agreed that Ukraine would send peace-keeping observers to the security zone. Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, who attended the meeting, ruled out any withdrawal of the Russian contingent from the Transdniester until a final settlement of the conflict has been reached. MS