UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSES PARLIAMENT OF BLOCKING REFORMS. In a letter to the Ukrainian Supreme Council, Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko and National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko have accused opposition parliamentary deputies of blocking fiscal austerity measures and economic reforms needed to stabilize Ukraine's finances, Reuters reported on 25 September. The letter--which singles out the Socialist Party and the Hromada party for criticism--stresses that further opposition will lead to the complete depreciation of the hryvnya, a political crisis, the isolation of Ukraine in the international arena, and heightened social tension. The parliament has so far vetoed three of President Leonid Kuchma's eight economic decrees issued last month to meet the IMF's requirements for obtaining a $2.2 billion loan. JM

UKRAINIAN FINANCE MINISTRY URGES FOREIGN INVESTORS TO CONVERT T-BILLS. The Finance Ministry has extended until 2 October the period in which Ukrainian hryvnya-denominated bills held by foreign investors can be converted into longer-term bonds, Ukrainian News reported on 26 September. Despite the previous optimistic announcement of the National Bank (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 September 1998), some 25 percent of foreign investors have not converted their Ukrainian treasury bills under conditions proposed by the National Bank. The U.S. Standard & Poor's rating agency said on 24 September that Ukraine defaulted on its debt to both domestic and foreign investors. "The recovery value of treasury bills held by foreign investors is estimated at around 40-50 percent [of their original value]," the 25 September issue of the "Financial Times" quoted the agency as saying. JM

UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS PROTEST UNPAID WAGES. Employees at Ukraine's five nuclear power plants staged protests on 26 September to demand back wages for the past five months, AP and ITAR-TASS reported. Demonstrations took place in satellite towns built near the nuclear plants, which continued to operate normally. Ukraine's nuclear power plants account for some 50 percent of electricity produced in the country, but they can barely make ends meet because of huge debts owed to them by electricity consumers. The director of the Zaporizhska Nuclear Power Plant told journalists the previous day that the money received by his plant is only enough "to pay taxes and fines for overdue taxes." JM