UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER LOCKS UP DEBTORS AGAIN. Valeriy Pustovoytenko on 22 September began a new crackdown on debtor companies by locking up executives from more than 50 firms in a government building and demanding that they sign obligations to pay their debts, Ukrainian Television reported. Pustovoytenko applied a similar measure to some 2,000 tax debtors in early August (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 August 1998). This time, the target of his campaign are managers who have been slow in returning foreign debts guaranteed by the government. Pustovoytenko said the government needs the $734 million it paid to foreign creditors on behalf of debtor companies. Both ProsecutorGeneral Mykhaylo Potebenko and Pustovoytenko have threatened to take executives of debtor companies to court and initiate bankruptcy proceedings. JM

UKRAINIAN CHIEF BANKER SAYS FOREIGN INVESTORS ACCEPT T-BILL CONVERSION. Ukrainian National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko on 22 September said that most foreign investors have agreed to swap their Ukrainian domestic treasury bills for longer-term bonds under a government debt restructuring plan, AP reported. The plan is intended to postpone some of the government's debt payments in view of insufficient budget revenues. Details of the plans were not made public, but Ukrainian bankers assert that foreign investors were offered the chance to redeem 20 percent of the bonds immediately and to change the rest into Eurobonds with a 20 percent annual interest rate. The new bonds are redeemable in September and December 2000. It is estimated that foreign investors hold 1.8 billion hryvni ($580 million) in Ukrainian bonds that are due to mature in 1999. JM

TEACHERS' STRIKE LEAVES 12,000 UKRAINIAN PUPILS OUT OF SCHOOL. Some 12,000 schoolchildren in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kirovohrad, and Zakarpatska Oblasts have not been to school since the beginning of the school year on 1 September owing to a teachers' strike over unpaid wages, AP reported on 22 September. Ukrainian teachers are owed some 410 million hryvni ($132 million) in back wages. Ukrainian Television reported that teachers are paid full and regular wages only in the city of Kyiv. JM