GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER POSTPONES TRIP TO MOSCOW. Davit Tevzadze's visit to Moscow, scheduled to begin on 16 August, has been postponed indefinitely due to the protracted disagreement over the division between Russia and Georgia of former Soviet military facilities in Georgia, Caucasus Press reported. During a visit to Kyiv last week, Tevzadze and his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksandr Kuzmuk, discussed the creation of a peacekeeping battalion composed of units from the GUAM states (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova). Kuzmuk said that proposals for the structure and organization of that battalion have already been drafted and submitted to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. LF

UKRAINIAN HRYVNYA FALLS AFTER RUSSIAN RUBLE PLUNGE. On Ukraine's Interbank Currency Exchange, the hryvnya fell to 2.18 to $1 on 17 August, down from 2.14 on 14 August, following Russia's announcement of the widened ruble exchange corridor, AP reported. National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko told reporters that Russia's move may cause a devaluation of the hryvnya and toughen monetary policies in Ukraine, according to ITAR-TASS on 18 August. President Leonid Kuchma ordered the government and the National Bank to prevent the hryvnya from falling further, but no specific measures have been announced so far. JM

UKRAINIAN TEACHERS THREATEN PROTEST OVER UNPAID WAGES. The Ukrainian Trade Union of Education Workers has threatened to refuse launching the new school year on 1 September unless teachers are paid their back wages, Ukrainian Television reported on 17 August. At its plenary session in Kyiv the same day, the trade union announced it will stage a rally on Kyiv's main street if the government does not meet the teachers' demands within the next two days. A cabinet member told the television station that the state budget has no funds for teachers, and the government does not intend to print such money. JM