RECALL OF AMBASSADORS FROM MINSK RECEIVES MORE SUPPORT... The European Commission has announced it fully supports the decision of EU governments to recall their ambassadors from Minsk. A commission spokeswoman said on 22 June that the EU mission head in Ukraine, who is also accredited to Belarus, was advised against visiting that country. ITAR-TASS reported that Japan and Lithuania have also recalled their ambassadors to Belarus for consultations. A Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman has said Poland is "strongly considering" the recall of its ambassador, Reuters reported. Poland has handed over a note protesting the eviction order and demanding from Belarus compensation for the money it invested in the Polish ambassador's residence at Drazdy. JM

IMF 'NEARLY AGREES' ON $2 BILLION LOAN TO UKRAINE. IMF Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer said after a meeting with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Kyiv on 22 June that Ukraine and the IMF "have nearly agreed on launching a new credit program," Ukrainian Television reported. Ukraine is currently negotiating a $2 billion loan from the IMF to be issued over three years. Fischer said there are still "some technical problems" and that the final decision on the loan will be made in late July. But he praised Ukraine's recent reform efforts and said he is "surprised at the production growth in Ukraine achieved over a very short period." JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER OFFERS REGULAR PAYMENTS TO COAL INDUSTRY. Valeriy Pustovoytenko on 22 June said that the government can now make regular payments to the coal industry, Ukrainian Radio reported. The premier announced that the government allotted 9 million hryvni ($4.5 million) early this week to pay wages for coal miners. The government has also ordered that enterprises pay for no less than 60 percent of coal supplies in cash. Meanwhile, Mykhaylo Volynets, leader of the Independent Trade Union of Coal Miners, has accused the government of failing to meet its former pledges to pay current wages, Ukrainian Television reported. According to Volynets, miners at 20 coal mines are still on strike over unpaid wages. JM