UKRAINE TO CLOSE CHORNOBYL REGARDLESS OF G-7 FUNDING. President Leonid Kuchma said on 6 June that the Chornobyl nuclear power plant will be shut down on 15 December even if the G-7 fails to allocate promised funds to reinforce the cover of the Chornobyl reactor that was destroyed in 1986, Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 June 2000). "I am the president of a great country and I bear responsibility for my words. Everything will be done as I have said," Kuchma added. Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko noted the same day that the country will need an additional $100 million to pay for conventional fuel to generate one year's worth of electricity to make up for lost capacity when Chernobyl shuts. Experts say closing Chernobyl, making it safe, and compensating for lost capacity may cost more than $2 billion. JM

UKRAINIAN EX-PREMIER THREATENS TO DISCLOSE ACCOMPLICE IN SHADY DEALS. The 6 June "Financial Times" wrote that former Ukrainian Premier Pavlo Lazarenko is ready to provide proof that a "named senior Ukrainian politician" was among the beneficiaries of his financial operations. Lazarenko was recently indicted in the U.S. on money-laundering charges and accused of plotting contract killings in Ukraine (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 5 June 2000). The daily adds that the U.S. indictment mentions current Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko as "a key figure in [Lazarenko's] money-laundering conspiracy." A company controlled by Tymoshenko reportedly transferred $72 million to Lazarenko "specifically at a point in time when he was prime minister." JM