UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS ACCOMPLISH LITTLE. Talks between Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Kyiv on 18 April ended without the signing of any documents or offering any specific solutions to urgent problems in bilateral relations, news agencies reported. Putin noted that the main goal of RussianUkrainian relations is to strengthen both countries' strategic partnership. The sides discussed Ukraine's gas debt to Russia, bilateral trade, and military cooperation. Kuchma and Putin announced the creation of a commission to resolve the gas debt problem within a month. Kuchma officially admitted for the first time that Ukraine siphons off Russian gas and pledged to stop that practice. Both presidents visited Sevastopol where they were greeted by pickets of ethnic Russians with placards reading "Putin, don't forget that Crimea and Sevastopol are Russia." JM

UKRAINE ENDS FOREIGN DEBT RESTRUCTURING, ISSUES NEW FOREIGN BONDS. The Finance Ministry on 18 April said Ukraine has concluded the restructuring of a $2.37 billion debt due to be paid in 2000-2001 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 March 2000), Interfax reported. Under the restructuring plan, the ministry annulled old bonds, issued new eurobonds with a seven-year maturity period, and repaid $220 million in interest. Simultaneously, Ukraine has issued $2.24 billion worth of new foreign loan bonds nominated in euros and dollars and due to be paid in 2007. JM