UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ASKED TO 'SAVE' JAILED LAWMAKER. The lawyer of parlaimentary deputy Mykola Agafonov has sent a letter to President Leonid Kuchma asking him to "save" the life of Agafonov by freeing him from jail for medical treatment, Interfax reported on 20 July. The letter says Agafonov suffers from cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, adding that "the probability that he will live until a verdict [is passed] is very low." Agafonov was arrested after the parliament lifted his immunity in June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 June 2000). The ProsecutorGeneral' s Office suspects Agafonov of embezzling $24 million in state funds from an agricultural company he headed from 1992-1997. JM

UKRAINE'S TOTAL DEBT DECREASES, BUT ONLY IN DOLLAR EQUIVALENT. Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov has announced that Ukraine's total debt, which includes the state's foreign and domestic payment obligations, decreased in January-May 2000 by $438 million to total $14.865 billion on 1 June, Interfax reported on 21 June. However, calculated in the national currency, the total debt increased in the same period by 700 million hryvni ($129 million) to 80.5 billion hryvni. Mityukov said the debt increase in hryvni was caused by inflation in Ukraine. Mityukov added that Ukraine's foreign debt stood at $10.599 billion on 1 June. JM