YUSHCHENKO SAYS UKRAINE'S ECONOMIC SITUATION IMPROVING. Ukrainian National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko says the country's economic situation has improved in recent days and that the hryvnya has stabilized within the exchange band of 2.5-3.5 to $1, AP reported on 3 October. "The key thing is that we have managed to separate ourselves from the Russian economic crisis and its negative influence," he said. The hryvnya exchange rate stood at 3.41 to $1 on 2 October. President Leonid Kuchma met with top economic officials the same day to discuss ways of stabilizing the hryvnya, Ukrainian Television reported. Participants in the meeting failed to reach agreement on how to achieve that goal. Many analysts believe the present hryvnya exchange rate is artificially maintained by regulations forcing exporters to sell much of their foreign currency earnings to the state and by restrictions on foreign currency purchases. JM