* Under fire for a ships-for-energy barter with Russia, President Leonid Kravchuk agreed Wednesday to face a nationwide vote of confidence and step down if he loses, lawmakers said.

The president agreed to the deal in a meeting with the country's parliament, a bastion of opposition that has demanded a tougher line with Russia.

Criticism came to a head after Mr. Kravchuk agreed with President Boris Yeltsin last Friday to hand over Ukraine's former Soviet warheads and Black Sea Fleet ships in exchange for Russian debt relief and nuclear fuel for Ukraine's power plants.

The legislators said the referendum could be held in the spring. A final decision must be made by the parliament.

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