PRICE OF BREAD GOES UP IN UKRAINE. The price of bread recently increased by 10-20 percent in Lviv and by 20-40 percent in Kharkiv, Interfax reported on 12 January. City officials quoted hikes in grain prices as the main reason for the more expensive bread. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Mykhaylo Hladiy assured oblast deputy governors in Kyiv the same day that available grain reserves are "sufficient to avoid any tension in supplying bread," according to the agency. JM
UKRAINE'S TYMOSHENKO REVISES RUSSIAN GAS DEBT FIGURE... Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko said on 12 January that Naftohaz Ukrainy's debt to Russia's Gazprom now stands at $2.23 billion, Interfax reported. The previous day, she had put Ukraine's gas debt to Russia at $2.8 billion (see "RFE/RL's Newsline," 12 January 2000). "Ukraine can in no way disclaim [having] this debt," she noted on 12 January. She added that during the 10 January talks in Moscow she did not officially acknowledge the debt. And she added that she had managed to strike a deal in Moscow on the supply of 30 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2000 at $40 per 1,000 cubic meters. JM
...PROPOSES DECLARING 'STATE OF EMERGENCY' IN ENERGY SECTOR. Tymoshenko also told journalists that she has proposed to the president and the premier to introduce a "state of emergency" in the energy sector for three months in order to "sharply" reform the sector, Interfax reported. She said that the total debt for electricity consumption in Ukraine stands at 26.5 billion hryvni ($4.9 billion). She noted that fuel reserves at Ukrainian thermal power plants are one-third of the norm, adding that four out of Ukraine's six oil refineries have halted production. JM
UKRAINIAN POLICE SURROUND CRIMEAN TATAR ASSEMBLY. On 11 January, some 200 officers of Ukraine's special forces surrounded the office of the Mejlis (or assembly) of the Crimean Tatar People in Simferopol, detained Mejlis member Riza Shevkiev, and searched the premises for documents relating to the charitable foundation established by a Mejlis leader, according to an email message from a Crimean Tatar activist. On 29 December, Mejlis member Abmedzhit Suleymanos was arrested and charged with financial improprieties. Crimean Tatars have been preparing meetings for the latter part of January to discuss pressing for official recognition of the Mejlis as the representative of the Crimean Tatar people and persuading European institutions to recognize Crimean Tatars as "an indigenous people" rather than a national minority.