UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BLAMES ECONOMIC WOES ON FOREIGN 'SHOCKS.' Leonid Kuchma on 17 August said Ukraine's economy is not sufficiently protected from "outside shocks," which cause economic instability in the country, AP reported. He cited acute gasoline shortages in Ukraine this summer as the latest example of such instability, adding that those shortages were provoked by world oil price hikes. The same day, the government reported that the country's economy shrank by 2.9 percent in January-July 1999, compared with the same period last year. Since Ukraine's independence in 1991, the country's economy has been in steady decline. JM