UKRAINE'S FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Three Ukrainian right-of-center parties--the Popular Rukh, the Republican Christian Party, and the Reform and Order Party--have announced that former Foreign Minister Hennadiy Udovenko will be their joint candidate in the presidential elections later this year, Interfax reported on 21 January. Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil and Reform and Order Party head Viktor Pynzenyk told a news conference on 21 January that the parties are now working on preparing Udovenko's election campaign, which, they said, will be conducted "tactfully." They added that candidates of other right-of-center parties stand no chance of winning the presidential elections unless those parties form a single election bloc. Udovenko told the same news conference that he is "ready for victory" and has received letters of support from various public organizations. JM

LUHANSK OBLAST MINERS LAUNCH NEW PROTEST. Miners in Luhansk Oblast have begun a protest action over unpaid wages, Ukrainian Television reported on 21 January. The protest action, according to Ukrainian Television, is not on such a large scale as those that lasted for five months in 1998, but it involves miners from various mines in the region. Some 200 miners are picketing a coal mining company building in Antratsyt to demand wage arrears for March through August 1998. Twenty miners in Krasnodon have launched an underground strike, while eight female workers laid off by a coal mining company in Stakhanov have gone on a hunger strike. JM

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN TALLINN. Borys Tarasyuk was in the Estonian capital on 21 January to discuss bilateral relations, which he described as "good," ETA reported. In his talks with Estonian officials, particular attention was paid to Kyiv's introduction of quotas on meat imports from Estonia, which ETA describes as the main problem in Estonian-Ukrainian relations. Over the past three years, Estonian meat imports to Ukraine have increased five-fold. The two countries recently set up a joint committee to determine whether the 1995 free trade agreement between the two countries is being properly implemented. JC