IMF MISSION ARRIVES IN KYIV AMID HOPES FOR RESUMPTION OF LOAN. An IMF mission arrived on 11 September in Ukraine to hold talks with the government on further reforms in the country's economy, AP reported. The mission is also expected to examine the government's 2001 budget plans. The fund suspended its $2.6 billion loan to Ukraine last fall owing to inefficient reforms and weak governance. Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko said in a recent interview with "Zerkalo nedeli" that he is "absolutely optimistic" about obtaining new credits from the fund this year. "At the macro-level, we have managed to maintain or even somewhat optimize the goals set in our joint program with the IMF," Yushchenko noted. Meanwhile, citing a "source in Washington," Interfax reported that "practically all" participants in the IMF Board of Directors meeting last week spoke in favor of "resuming constructive cooperation" with Ukraine. JM

UKRAINIAN CABINET REPORTS REPAYMENT OF PENSION ARREARS. Premier Viktor Yushchenko on 10 September said he has fulfilled his pledge to pay off pension arrears by 15 September. "I want to apologize to all our pensioners for what they had to go through. The government has done everything possible in order to avoid a repeat of such a situation," Interfax quoted Yushchenko as saying. At the beginning of this year, wage arrears in Ukraine stood at 1.25 billion hryvni ($230 million). Yushchenko also pledged that the government will seek to increase pensions. The average monthly pension in Ukraine is some 50 hryvni ($9.2). JM

DID CHECHENS WANT TO KILL PUTIN IN YALTA? Ukraine's Security Service chief Leonid Derkach said on 9 September that his service foiled a plan to assassinate one of the CIS leaders at the 18-19 August CIS summit in Yalta, Interfax reported. Derkach added that the service was informed from abroad about the planned assassination and arrested four Chechens and "several persons from Middle East countries." Besides Russian President Vladimir Putin, the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Ukraine attended the CIS summit. JM

GEORGIAN SCIENTISTS WARN OF ROCKET FUEL LEAK. Georgian scientists have alerted the government to the threat posed by leakage of rocket fuel stored at former Russian military facilities in Georgia, Caucasus Press reported. According to Institute of Physics and Organic Chemistry director Avtandil Dolidze, there are 120 tons of such fuel stored near the west Georgian town of Khobi and another 480 tons near Kutaisi, "Segodnya" reported on 7 September. Ukrainian officials have suggested that leaks of such fuel are responsible for the mass poisoning in Mykolayiv Oblast (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 September 2000). LF