UKRAINIAN TOP BANKER BLAMES HRYVNYA FALL ON FUEL CRISIS. National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko has blamed the hryvnya's slide below the government's exchange rate limit on recent gasoline shortages (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 August 1999). "The reason [for the fall] is not in the hryvnya and not in the currency market. It's in the increased demand for dollars to sign new fuel import deals," AP quoted Yushchenko as saying on 6 August. That day, in trading among banks, the hryvnya plunged to as low as 5.25 to $1, according to the news agency. Yushchenko refused to intervene on the currency market, stressing that the hryvnya will stabilize once the government manages to satisfy the country's gasoline demand. The same day, President Leonid Kuchma threw his support behind Yushchenko, saying the National Bank is right not to resort to intervention on the currency market. JM

UKRAINIAN COURT ORDERS COMMISSION TO REGISTER 10TH PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL... Ukraine's Supreme Court on 6 August ordered the Central Electoral Commission to register Vasyl Onopenko, leader of the Social Democratic Party, as a candidate in the presidential election, bringing the number of contenders to 10. The commission earlier refused to register Onopenko, saying that only 845,000 or so signatures out of the 1.44 million submitted by him were valid. JM

...REINSTATES KYIV MAYOR IN OFFICE. The same day the Supreme Court revoked the decision of the Vyshhorod district court canceling Oleksandr Omelchenko's election as Kyiv mayor (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 27 July 1999). JM

UKRAINE TO OBTAIN $569 MILLION FOR NUNN-LUGAR PROGRAM. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv announced on 5 August that Ukraine will receive $569 million from the U.S. this year for the implementation of the collective threat reduction program, which is popularly known as the NunnLugar program. Both sides decided during U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen's visit to Kyiv on 31 July that the Nunn-Lugar program will be prolonged until 2006 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 August 1999). JM

CORRECTION: "RFE/RL Newsline" on 6 August incorrectly reported Ukraine's hard currency reserves at $1.3 million and its debt obligations through 2000 at $3.5 million. The correct figures are $1.3 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively. JM

MOSCOW APPROVES KYIV'S BOMBERS-FOR-GAS PROPOSAL. ColonelGeneral Anatolii Kornukov, commander of the Russian air force, told Interfax on 6 August that Moscow has agreed to Kyiv's proposal to repay part of its gas debt to Russia through the delivery of eight Tu-160 strategic bombers. Russia puts that debt at $1.8 billion, while Kyiv claims that it owes only $1 billion and that commercial structures are responsible for the remainder of the debt. Kornukov did not say how much each plane would be considered to be worth. Russia already has six Tu-160 planes as well as some 50 Tu- 95MS long-range bombers, according to Interfax. JC

TURKMENISTAN, UKRAINE AGAIN AT ODDS OVER GAS SUPPLIES. Ukrainian Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko said on 6 August that agreement had been reached during talks with Turkmen government officials the previous day on resuming supplies of Turkmen natural gas to Ukraine before the end of this month, Interfax reported. Turkmenistan halted exports to Ukraine in late May. But in Ashgabat, the chairman of Turkmenistan's state gas company, Berdymurat Redjepov, said the same day that supplies will not be resumed any time soon because Ukraine has not yet made the required payment in hard currency for 6 billion cubic meters of gas it received between January and late May 1999. Forty percent of that debt was to be paid in hard currency and the remainder in barter goods, not all of which have been supplied. LF