INFLATION IN UKRAINE REACHED 20 PERCENT LAST YEAR. Presidential aide Valeriy Lytvytskyy said on 5 January that inflation in Ukraine reached 20 percent last year, AP reported. Inflation in September was 3.8 percent and rose to 6.8 percent in October in the wake of Russia's financial crisis, sinking to 3 percent in November and 3.3 percent in December. The previous year, inflation stood at 10 percent. Lytvytskyy commented that the 20 percent inflation rate in 1998 was "a relatively acceptable price to pay for the regional crisis, considering its depth and comparing Ukraine's inflation figure to those of neighboring countries." JM

UKRAINIAN SECURITY SERVICE SAYS 12 SPIES CAUGHT IN 1998. The Security Service reported on 5 January that last year it caught 12 agents from foreign intelligence services and thwarted 14 attempts to pass sensitive data to foreign diplomats. It added that a total of 19 foreigners were expelled from Ukraine in 1998 for their involvement in espionage. JM

YELTSIN PLEDGES TO PAY MOSKVA REPAIR BILL. President Yeltsin has approved proposals for financing repairs of the nuclear cruiser "Moskva" by Ukraine's Nikolaev shipyard, Interfax reported on 5 January. The government owes the shipyard 58 million rubles ($2.8 million) for repairs to the cruiser, which are more than 90 percent complete. Defense Minister Igor Sergeev said that the ship, which was built in the 1980s, "is an excellent vessel from a technical point of view" and that its "life span has not been exhausted." JAC