RUSSIA ASKS UKRAINE FOR PROPERTY IN LIEU OF DEBT PAYMENTS. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has called on Ukraine to pay some of its energy debts with state property that is being prepared for privatization, AP reported on 23 February. He said that during meetings in Kyiv on 22 February, he submitted a list of state assets that Russia would be willing to consider in lieu of debt payments to Ukrainian officials (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 February 2000). Kasyanov said a Russian analysis has concluded that Ukrainian businesses will not be able to pay off their energy debts any time soon. He said he has called on Ukraine to recognize the company debts for natural gas as state debts. VG

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS DECREE ON ECONOMIC TARGETS. Leonid Kuchma has signed a decree requiring the government to implement an economic action plan that he outlined in a 22 February speech, "Ukrainian Eastern Economist" reported. The plan calls for the government to achieve average annual GDP growth levels of 6.5 percent by the 2002-2004 period. The government will be required to report to Kuchma every six months on the plan's fulfillment. VG

CHORNOBYL UNIT SHUT DOWN AGAIN. On 23 February, the third reactor at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant was shut down again for the third time in the past month, Interfax reported the next day. Officials at the plant said the reactor was closed to "remove a defect in the pipeline system." The Energoatom energy company said repairs on the defect will continue until 4 March. VG