FEDERATION COUNCIL PUTS OFF DECISION ON UKRAINE TREATY. State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev told reporters on 27 January that the Duma may send the Russian-Ukrainian Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership to President Yeltsin for signature without ratification by the Federation Council. The Council voted by 115 to 15 with nine abstentions to postpone ratification of the treaty until mid-February. Seleznev blamed the vote on Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, who, according to Russian Television, managed to persuade some governors not "to give away Sevastopol and Crimea" to Ukraine. Deputy Secretary of Ukraine's National Security Council Oleksandr Razumkov warned on NTV that nonratification would have extremely negative consequences, such as the suspension of the existing agreement on the Black Sea Fleet. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was more calm, saying that the upper body's decision was evidence only of its reluctance to make a hasty decision on such an important matter. JAC

CANADIAN PREMIER PLEDGES SUPPORT TO UKRAINE... Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has pledged support to Ukraine in obtaining foreign loans to help the country "develop a market economy and a solid democracy," Reuters reported on 27 January. Chretien also hailed Ukraine's decision to accede to an international treaty prohibiting landmines. With Canadian assistance, Ukraine has already destroyed 120,000 landmines in the country's arsenal of 7.6 million. On 28 January, the two sides signed seven agreements, including on cooperation in environmental protection, education, agriculture, and the food industry. Last year, trade turnover between the two countries totaled $64 million, up 50 percent from 1997. JM

...AS DOES ITALIAN PRESIDENT. Visiting Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro on 27 January called for international assistance to help Ukraine overcome its financial problems, saying that Ukraine "can count on Italy's support. We cannot work miracles, but we can guarantee a real, concrete friendship." He added that Italy will promote Ukraine's interests at World Bank and IMF meetings. That promise follows Ukraine's recent talks with an IMF mission in Kyiv, which failed to result in the resumption of a $2.2 million loan program (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 January 1999). Ukrainian Television reported that negotiations with the IMF will be continued next week. JM