UKRAINE BEGINS SCRAPPING SOVIET-ERA STRATEGIC BOMBERS. On 16 November, Ukraine demolished one of its 44 Soviet-era warplanes capable of carrying nuclear bombs, AP and Reuters reported. The demolition of Ukraine's Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers is taking place under the nuclear disarmament program initiated by U.S. Senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn in 1991. Lugar personally watched the scrapping of the first bomber at the Pryluky air base, in northeastern Ukraine. All strategic bombers and nuclear missiles in Ukraine are scheduled to be destroyed by December 2001. The U.S. has contributed $500 million under the Lugar-Nunn program to help Ukraine dismantle its nuclear weapons. JM

UKRAINIAN STUDENTS DISRUPT COURT PROCEEDINGS IN LVIV. Some 2,000 nationalist students rallied in Lviv, western Ukraine, on 16 November, disrupting the court hearings of three fellow nationalists accused of attacking leftist demonstrators, AP reported. The three were charged with hooliganism over a clash during the 1997 demonstration in Lviv commemorating the 80th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. The crowd of students blocked the way to the court, preventing witnesses and victims from entering the courtroom. Leaflets distributed throughout the city before the rally called on the students to "crush the red cockroaches" and praised the three for "kicking the teeth" of the Communists and their allies last year. JM

MOLDOVA STARTS BUILDING DANUBE OIL TERMINAL. At a 15 November ceremony attended by Premier Ion Ciubuc, the foundation stone was laid for the building of the Giurgiulesti oil terminal on the River Danube, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported on 16 November. The construction of the terminal was made possible due to the agreement reached between Ciubuc and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in early August, which gave Moldova access to the disputed territory on the river's banks in exchange for a section of the road connecting the Ukrainian cities of Odessa and Izmail (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 August 1998). MS

REGIONS SAY NO TO 'IMPORTED' WASTE. Krasnoyarsk Oblast officials are refusing to store waste from Ukraine's Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 November. Aleksandra Kulenkova, a deputy of Governor Lebed, said that the oblast is paid only $275 per kilogram of radioactive waste, compared with world market price of $800- 1,000, and that it receives payments irregularly. She added that since the federal government manage the nuclear waste shipments, the regional administration has no means to change the situation, short of a ban. Meanwhile, in Altai Republic, doctors have concluded that residents in areas where parts of booster rockets from the Baikonur space complex, in neighboring Kazakhstan, have landed are suffering ill health effects, adding that healthy men are dying of cardiac arrest and infants of cirrhosis, according to "Obshchaya gazeta" on 12 November. "Space waste" litters the landscape of more than 24,000 square meters, or one-quarter of the republic, according to "Trud" on 3 November. JAC

UKRAINIAN CABINET PRESENTS 1999 DRAFT BUDGET TO PARLIAMENT... The Ukrainian government presented a 1999 draft budget to the Supreme Council on 17 November, Ukrainian Television and AP reported. The draft calls for a budget deficit of 0.6 percent of GDP and an inflation rate of 7.8 percent. It also foresees that the economy will grow by 1 percent next year. Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov said the government plans to raise 23.1 billion hryvni ($6.74 billion) in budget revenues in 1999. National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko said the bank's goal in 1999 is to preserve the hryvnya exchange rate at 4 hryvni to $1. And Economy Minister Vasyl Rohovyy told the parliament that GDP this year is expected to fall by 1.5 percent instead of growing by 0.5 percent, as previously projected. JM

KUCHMA, BEREZOVSKII AGREE ON CIS REFORM. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met with CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii in Kyiv on 17 November and "generally" supported Berezovskii's proposals to reform the CIS, Ukrainian Television reported. In particular, Kuchma stressed the need for economic cooperation within the CIS and backed Berezovskii's plan to create a CIS economic council at the level of deputy prime minister. Kuchma and Berezovskii also agreed on the need to create a CIS free trade zone, which the latter described as "major direction in reforming the CIS." And both agreed that the CIS countries should be allowed to decide for themselves to which CIS bodies they will belong. JM