Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma warned on November 11 that Ukraine might have to stretch out plans to shut down the Chernobyl nuclear power station by the end of the century, unless Western countries provide more financial help. In talks earlier this month, experts from the G-7 countries failed to get Kiev to accept $2.5 billion in grants and credits to close Chernobyl, because the offer fell short of Ukrainian expectations for compensation. The talks will continue later in November when Canada’s deputy prime minister, Sheila Copps, goes to Kiev. (7) Behind the scenes, Ukrainian officials are critical to the point of indignation when it comes to Western, particularly European, pressure. A pro-government commentary on the world service of Radio Ukraine, aired while the G-7 negotiations were under way, defended Chernobyl’s safety record in the nine years since the explosion and scolded the Europeans for spinning repeat disaster scenarios. Kiev reckons it will cost up to $4 billion to put the power plant out of commission. (8) The Ukrainian penchant for driving a hard monetary bargain with the West was also in evidence during past negotiations on the withdrawal and destruction of nuclear weapons.
Yeltsin Backs Repudiation of Troop Withdrawal Agreement With Moldova.