STRIKING DNIPROPETROVSK MINERS TO MARCH TO KYIV? Some 5,000 miners who marched from Pavlovhrad to Dnipropetrovsk to protest wage arrears spent the night from 20-21 May outside the oblast administration building after presenting an ultimatum to the government, ITAR-TASS reported. The ultimatum says the miners will wait 24 hours for a government decision to pay back wages. If the government fails to take such a decision, the group will march to Kyiv. The acting coal industry minister has pledged to pay this month's wage (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 May 1998), but the protesters demand payment of all wage arrears to Pavlovhrad mines, now totaling 84 million hryvni ($42 million). They also are calling for the restoration of subsidies to coal mining sector, which were suspended by the government 18 months ago. JM

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH KYIV. Leonid Hrach, a leading Communist who was elected speaker of the Crimean legislature last week, says he hopes to establish a partnership with Kyiv, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 May. In Hrach's opinion, such relations are essential to overcome the current crisis and reinstate civil peace in Crimea. Hrach has already met with President Leonid Kuchma, whose presidential spokesman announced that Kuchma agrees to Serhiy Kunitsyn's appointment as Crimean prime minister. The Crimean Supreme Council nominated Kunitsyn, leader of the centrist bloc in the parliament, as premier after the bloc supported Hrach's election as speaker (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 May 1998). JM

UKRAINE FAILS TO COLLECT $2.5 BILLION IN BUDGET REVENUES. Presidential spokesman Oleksandr Maydannyk said on 20 May that the Ukrainian budget failed to collect 5 billion hryvni ($2.5 billion) in the first quarter of this year, ITAR-TASS reported. According to Maydannyk, the main reasons for this failure were tax evasion and the slow pace of privatization. He added that President Leonid Kuchma has submitted to the Supreme Council several draft laws intended to stabilize the budget situation, including a bill on reducing income tax and another on introducing a single land tax. JM