IMF SAYS UKRAINE PROVIDED INCORRECT DATA ON BANK RESERVES. The IMF has said that Ukraine's National Bank misled fund experts about the size of its reserves, as a result of which the IMF lent money that it might otherwise have withheld, Reuters reported on 14 March. "It appears that a number of transactions in 1996-98 gave the impression that Ukraine's reserves were larger than was actually the case," an IMF statement noted. Ukraine's National Bank said the same day that its foreign debt payments, methods of channeling its foreign exchange reserves, and transparent book-keeping proved that it had not misused IMF money. The bank added that the "differences of opinion" over Ukraine's use of IMF loans may have resulted from the fact that until 1998, Ukraine employed a Soviet system of accounting that differed from that in the West. JM

COUNCIL OF EUROPE ACCUSED OF PRESSURING UKRAINE'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. Presidential administration head Volodymyr Lytvyn said on 14 March that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has been pressuring Ukraine's Constitutional Court, which is currently examining the constitutionality of the 16 April referendum in Ukraine, Interfax reported. Lytvyn was commenting on the PACE Monitoring Committee's recommendation to suspend Ukraine's membership in the Council of Europe if Kyiv holds that plebiscite. According to Lytvyn, the parliamentary majority will immediately split if the Constitutional Court "yields to pressure from the international community." He added that a ruling declaring the referendum unconstitutional would lead to "yet another outburst of confrontation" in the country. JM

HUNGARY URGES ROMANIA TO CLOSE DANGEROUS PLANTS. Hungarian government spokesman Gabor Borokai said on 14 March that Budapest has asked Romania to identify plants that may pose a threat to the environment and "not delay" in closing them down. Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told the cabinet he personally delivered the message to Romania's ambassador in Budapest. The Hungarian Environment Ministry has noted that the authorities managed to protect the Tisza Lake from a spill of heavy metals into the Tisza River (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 March 2000). Meanwhile, Hungarian water management authorities were put on alert again after receiving reports on 14 March from Ukrainian authorities of another pollution spill on the northeastern reach of the Tisza River. Hungarian authorities were unable to receive confirmation from Romanian officials that another spill has occurred. VG