YELTSIN LEAVES HOSPITAL AS PUTIN CHEERS. President Boris Yeltsin checked out of a Moscow hospital on 11 October, two days after being admitted with influenza. Presidential spokesman Dmitrii Yakushkin reported that Yeltsin's temperature has normalized. He dismissed a report in "Segodnya" on 9 October that Yeltsin requires an operation. The newspaper, which is owned by the Media-Most group, a Kremlin foe, added that Yeltsin requires painkillers every week. Meanwhile, Russian Public Television repeatedly showed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin cheering during Russia's soccer match against Ukraine on 9 October in what is likely an effort to boost Putin's already growing popularity, "The Boston Globe" reported on 10 October. According to NTV the same day, Russian media and public are so used to Yeltsin's frequent illnesses that the soccer match, which resulted in a 1-1 draw, was the evening news' top story, not Yeltsin's hospitalization. NTV is also owned by Vladimir Gusinskii's Media-Most. JAC

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY WARNS ARAB COUNTRIES NOT TO ABET CHECHENS. The ambassadors in Moscow of a number of unidentified Arab countries have been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and acquainted with evidence that foreign Islamic organizations are organizing aid to the Chechen radicals from the territory of those states, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Citing Foreign Ministry sources, Interfax also reported that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov plans to send envoys to Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait to hand over a message explaining Russia's policy in Chechnya and seeking support for it. Speaking in Kyiv on 9 October, Ivanov admitted that the Russian incursion into Chechnya has resulted in what he termed "minor civilian casualties," but he added that Moscow is endeavoring to keep those casualties to a minimum, according to Interfax. Ivanov also rejected an 8 October U.S. claim that Russia is violating the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe by deploying in Chechnya hundreds more pieces of military equipment than is provided for by that accord. LF

RUSSIA'S IVANOV HAILS RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE... Following his 9 October visit to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said relations between Moscow and Kyiv are nowadays characterized by a "different atmosphere" and can be called "fraternal," AP reported. Ivanov discussed with his Ukrainian counterpart, Borys Tarasyuk, the implementation of agreements on the Black Sea Fleet, consular relations, steps to combat terrorism, and the situation in Chechnya. Ivanov said Russia will support Ukraine's bid to become a temporary member of the UN Security Council in 2000-2001. Commenting on Ukraine's presidential election, Ivanov said incumbent President Kuchma's re-election would boost bilateral relations. JM

...WHILE UKRAINE'S TARASYUK BEMOANS 'LACK OF TIME' TO ADDRESS JOINT ISSUES. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said in a 9 October television link between Moscow and Kyiv that "the main problem in Ukrainian-Russian relations is lack of time to address problems that have piled up as a result of the emergence of new states," ITAR-TASS reported. Referring to speculation about Ukraine's possible accession to NATO, Ukrainian Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko said during the same television program that Ukraine "is not and will not be joining any blocs." He added that Ukraine's "non-bloc" status is written into the constitution and "no one will be able to change the constitution, now or in the near future." JM