KUCHMA SIGNS SEVERAL EMERGENCY ECONOMIC DECREES. Following his recent announcement on national television (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 June 1998), the Ukrainian president has signed several emergency economic decrees easing taxes and other payments to the state, Interfax reported. Employers' obligatory payment to a state fund for the consequences of the Chornobyl accident has been reduced from 10 percent to 5 percent of the wage fund. A single tax on agricultural produce replaces 10 such taxes. And 1.25 billion hryvni ($620 million) has been allocated to pay back wages, pensions, and social benefits. JM

DONETSK MINERS DEMAND BACK WAGES. Following the Ukrainian government's deal with the Dnipropetrovsk to pay back wages (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 June 1998), a group of miners in Donetsk has begun picketing the oblast administration building to demand payment of their outstanding wages. Coal Industry Minister Serhiy Tulub has appealed to the miners to end their protest, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 June. Meanwhile, a Donetsk miners trade union has demanded that Tulub be held responsible for issuing a directive to coal mining managers to freeze funds allocated to pay overdue wages and benefits. JM