UKRAINE, POLAND PLEDGE NOT TO CHANGE POLICY TOWARD BELARUS. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said on 20 July that Ukrainian-Belarusian relations will remain unchanged following the end of Lukashenka's fiveyear term in office. The same day, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Pawel Dobrowolski said Warsaw will continue its policy toward Belarus. "On the one hand, we criticize President Lukashenka's policy and violations of the law committed by him, but on the other--we will not break relations with Belarus. Now we will maintain them more on a social than political level," Dobrowolski said. He added that no visits of high-ranking officials are planned by the two countries. JM

UKRAINE HIT BY MOTOR FUEL SHORTAGE. Ukraine is suffering a severe gasoline shortage, resulting in the closure of many filling stations. The price of gasoline has doubled and even tripled at some stations, the "Eastern Economic Daily" reported on 21 July. Some traders blamed government-imposed import duties on gasoline for the shortage, while the government pointed to the increase in world oil prices. The agricultural sector seems most affected by the fuel crisis. According to the agency, some regional authorities have attempted to confiscate low octane gasoline for the needs of agricultural enterprises. Newly appointed Agricultural Minister Mykhaylo Hladiy said most farms have enough fuel to keep their combines running, but he added that the hike is likely to push up the price of grain. JM

EBRD PAYS TO IMPROVE CHORNOBYL SARCOPHAGUS. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has signed an agreement with Ukraine's state company Enerhoatom on a 111.8 million euro ($115 million) grant to improve the leaky concrete encasement of the Chornobyl reactor that was destroyed in 1986. The grant is to be spent on purchasing equipment to monitor safety risks while nuclear fuel is removed from the destroyed reactor. It will also be used for a number of other safety projects due to be completed by 2005. JM