RUSSIA TELLS UKRAINE 'NYET' TO CURBS ON LANGUAGE. After meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko, on 19 July, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told reporters that he expressed "concern over the state of the Russian language in Ukraine" and over reports that "the system of teaching Russian is being phased out," ITAR-TASS reported. Yushchenko, acknowledging that the two officials had exchanged opinions "on topics that cannot be called very pleasant," said that "there is no state policy [in Ukraine] that would restrict the use of languages." The same day, State Duma deputies adopted a statement criticizing Ukraine for provoking interethnic tensions "in connection with discrimination against the Russian language in Ukraine." Kasyanov and Yushchenko also discussed fuel and energy issues, with Russia agreeing to help finish the construction of the Rivne and Khmelnytskyy nuclear power plants in Ukraine and to start building a joint fuel and energy system. JAC

BILATERAL COMMISSION TO TACKLE UKRAINE'S GAS DEBT TO RUSSIA. Following his 19 July talks in Moscow with Mikhail Kasyanov (see Part 1), Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yushchenko said the two sides reached understanding on the size of Ukraine's gas debt to Russia but he gave no figures. Russia's Gazprom says Ukraine owes more than $2 billion, while Ukraine maintains that its gas debt totals $1.4 billion. Yushchenko added that both countries agreed to set up an intergovernmental commission to resolve the gas debt problem. The commission will meet next week, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko will lead the Russian side. Yushchenko also said both sides discussed the issue of a gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine, which was recently raised by Gazprom. "If we resolve the problem of [Ukraine's] payment for gas, we will not need to make any investments in new pipelines," "Nezavisimaya gazeta" quoted Kasyanov as saying. JM


LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL WOMEN WEBSITE. The LPW is a Kyivbased business association; its website was launched in July, providing information on activities, services, a brief organizational history and information on its leadership, consultants and partners. Its web address is (Center for Civil Society International, 18 July)