YUSHCHENKO SAYS NO FURTHER DEVALUATION OF HRYVNYA. Ukrainian National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko has said last week's devaluation of the hryvnya to 2.243 to $1 was a "sufficient reaction to the decline of the Russian ruble," Ukrainian News reported on 22 August. He pledged to keep the official exchange rate of the hryvnya below the previously announced upper limit of 2.250 to $1. He also stressed that Ukraine's banks are solvent, despite the fact that most banks curtailed financial operations last week. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko called for urgent talks with CIS government heads to work out a "common position" on the financial crisis in Russia, Interfax reported on 21 August. JM

KUCHMA SPEAKS WITH U.S. SENATOR LUGAR ON DISARMAMENT... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met with U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in Kyiv on 23 August to discuss U.S. assistance to Ukraine's nuclear disarmament program. Kuchma noted that U.S. funds to assist Ukraine in destroying missile silos are being transferred "on time," but he complained that the money allocated for recultivating the land around the former silos is not, AP reported. Lugar, who along with Senator Sam Nunn, initiated a U.S. aid program to former Soviet republics to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, pledged continued economic aid to Ukraine and praised Kyiv for its support of the recent U.S. attacks in Sudan and Afghanistan. JM

...WITH IMF HEAD CAMDESSUS ON $2.2 BILLION LOAN. IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus told Kuchma in a telephone conversation on 22 August that he expects the IMF to soon approve a $2.2 billion loan to Ukraine, AP reported. Camdessus assured the Ukrainian president that the fund supports Ukraine's economic reforms. The IMF loan is widely expected to stabilize Ukraine's financial market in the wake of Russia's financial crisis. JM