NATO MAY OPEN MILITARY MISSION IN UKRAINE. A NATO senior official said in Kyiv on 26 June that the Western alliance may open a liaison mission in the Ukrainian capital later this year, Interfax reported. Klaus Kleiber, an aide to NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, said his boss will discuss that possibility during a 8-9 July visit to Ukraine. On 26- 27 June in Crimea, Kleiber stressed the importance of developing good relations between Ukraine and that region, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 June. Those ties may improve following a meeting in Kyiv on 26 June at which approximately half of the 26 countries represented pledged some $5 million to help resettle the Crimean Tatars, Interfax reported. Kyiv has sought $13.8 million to help this group, which was deported from the region by Stalin in 1944. PG

UKRAINIAN MINERS DEMONSTRATE; KYIV DISMISSES OFFICIALS. Some 250 striking miners blocked streets in Kyiv on 26 June to protest wage arrears, Ukrainian and Western agencies reported. The leaders of the action said it was "a gesture of despair." In response to the mounting wave of job actions in the mining sector, President Leonid Kuchma dismissed four deputy coal industry ministers and named former union leader Viktor Derzhak as head of the state coal concern, Interfax reported. PG

YELTSIN'S VISIT TO UKRAINE POSTPONED. Boris Yeltsin's press spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii said on 26 June that the Russian president will not meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, in Crimea in July, Interfax reported. The informal meeting had originally been scheduled for June. It was postponed until July during the recent Russian economic crisis. But Yastrzhembskii did not give a reason for this delay or announce a new date. On 25 June, the Kremlin announced that Yeltsin will delay a planned trip to Kazakhstan in July to an unspecified date in September in order not to be away from Russia for several days during the continuing economic difficulties. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" argued on 27 June that the postponement of Yeltsin's visits to Ukraine and Kazakhstan--where he was to have met with the leaders of that country, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan-- "will further weaken Russia's influence in the CIS." PG/LB