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KUCHMA MEETS WITH MACEDONIA'S TRAJKOVSKI... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met with his Macedonian counterpart Boris Trajkovski in Crimea on 28 October. Kuchma assured Trajkovski that Kyiv will continue military cooperation with Skopje. "Ukraine, which has contracts with Macedonia and political agreements with NATO, will try to arrange a dialogue to come up with an optimal decision based on the understanding of the need for stability in Macedonia and guided by the global principles of international security," UNIAN quoted Kuchma as saying. Trajkovski told Macedonian Radio that Kyiv will continue arms supplies to Skopje, adding that this will be done "within a broader framework." The United States and NATO have recently raised objections to Ukrainian arms deliveries to Macedonia. JM

...AND RUSSIA'S YELTSIN. The same day Kuchma also met with former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who is spending his holiday in Crimea with his wife and daughter, RIA-Novosti reported, quoting Ukrainian presidential spokesman Ihor Storozhuk. According to Storozhuk, both statesmen "raised their glasses for friendship and recalled the good old days." Yeltsin praised Kuchma for his contribution to "constructive" relations between both countries. Yeltsin also said he is "feeling very well" and denied the recent report in "Izvestiya" saying that his good health is a result of treatment by Chinese healers. "I have indeed been to China, but never approached any doctors," Yeltsin said. JM

UKRAINE TO PAY COMPENSATION TO ISRAELI FAMILIES FOR PLANE CRASH. President Kuchma telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 27 October, saying that Ukraine will compensate families of Israelis killed when a Russian Tu-154 airliner was accidentally shot down by a Ukrainian missile on 4 October. "[Israel's] Foreign Ministry received the announcement with satisfaction, and we will open a diplomatic dialogue concerning all aspects of the tragedy," AP quoted Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon as saying. Kuchma's spokesman, Ihor Storozhuk, said the Ukrainian president ordered Deputy Premier Oleh Dubyna to organize the collection of necessary funds, Interfax reported. It is not clear whether Kuchma also promised compensation for the non-Israeli victims' families, or how much each family will be eligible to receive. A Defense Ministry official suggested the previous day that Ukraine may give a Tu-154 plane to Russia's Sibir airline to compensate for the downed plane. JM

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT MEETS PUTIN IN MOSCOW. Boris Trajkovski arrived in the Russian capital on 29 October for talks with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, and other officials, AP and ITAR-TASS reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 31 July and 28 September 2001). After his meeting with Putin, Trajkovski said: "The antiterror coalition should not just be concentrated on Afghanistan but also on Chechnya and Macedonia," dpa reported. He added, "We would like to feel the results of this coalition also in our own region," Reuters reported. Putin replied that "Russia backs your efforts, and the efforts of the international community, to harmonize the situation in the Balkans as a whole and Macedonia in particular.... At our [August] meeting in Kiev, you talked to me about the situation in Macedonia and in the Balkans, and you gave me some convincing information about terrorist activities in the region. Unfortunately today, much of what you told me has been tragically confirmed." PM

SEPARATISTS BLOCK MOLDOVAN RAILWAY. President Voronin on 28 October held urgent telephone discussions with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts after the separatist authorities in Bendery-Tighina, near the Ukrainian border, blocked the passage of 350 wagons of fuel and lubricants destined for Chisinau, ITAR-TASS reported. Voronin told Vladimir Putin and Leonid Kuchma that Moldova will act "strictly in compliance with current international norms." The blocked transport also includes ethyl alcohol, chlorine, and other toxic materials that can pose a threat to the population there. Flux reported that the oil had been dispatched to Moldova by Russia's LUKoil. MS