PUTIN'S FIRST FOREIGN TRIPS TO KYIV, MINSK, LONDON. The Foreign Ministry is preparing working visits for Presidentelect Putin to Minsk, Kyiv, and London, Interfax reported on 6 April, The visits will take place in mid-April. The Russian leader also plans working visits this year to Germany, Italy, India, and China and said that a meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton is under consideration as well. PG

UKRAINE SLAMS PACE OVER APPEAL TO DELAY REFERENDUM. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said on 6 April that the appeal by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to postpone the 16 April constitutional referendum (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 April 2000) is "unacceptable and inadmissible," Interfax reported. According to the ministry, PACE's recommendation to suspend Ukraine's membership in the Council of Europe if Kyiv moves to implement the referendum results by unconstitutional methods "does not reflect the real situation in Ukraine and is a manifestation of disrespect for [Ukraine's] people, constitution, and legislation, [as well as] all [its] branches of power." The ministry noted that the referendum will be a milestone on Ukraine's path toward European integration. Meanwhile, early voting in the referendum has begun for those Ukrainians who are unable to vote on 16 April. JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER SAYS APPROVAL OF CABINET PROGRAM SHOWS 'POLITICAL UNITY.' Viktor Yushchenko said on 6 April that the parliament's approval of the government program for 2000-2004 demonstrated "the political unity of power branches" in Ukraine (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 April 2000), Interfax reported. He added that there has been "no more socially oriented budget and program in the history of independent Ukraine" than those proposed by his cabinet. Yushchenko said he counts on cooperation with the legislature, adding that the government has submitted 48 bills for urgent parliamentary approval. The adoption of the government program implies that the parliament has agreed not to seek the government's resignation for one year. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT RAISES MINIMUM WAGE. The Supreme Council on 6 April voted by 304 to two to raise the minimum wage from the current 74 hryvni ($13.5) to 90 hryvni as of 1 April and to 118.3 hryvni as of 1 July, Interfax reported. JM