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BELARUSIANS RALLY TO MARK CHORNOBYL ANNIVERSARY. About 1,000 mostly young people took part in a march and rally organized by the political opposition in Minsk on 26 April to mark the 18th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear accident, Belapan reported. Speakers at the rally urged the authorities to ban food production in the contaminated areas and restore state benefits to victims of the disaster. After the rally, police officers handed summonses to its organizers ordering them to report to a police station the next day. The organizers are likely to be punished for staging the march without official permission. JM
KYIV OFFICIALS SAY EU INTEGRATION, SINGLE ECONOMIC SPACE MIGHT BE INCOMPATIBLE. Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Chalyy said in an interview with the "Biznes" weekly on 26 April that Ukraine's main foreign-policy challenge in the near future will be the "impossibility" of combining integration in the European Union with membership of the Single Economic Space (SES) comprising Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 April 2004), Interfax reported. Chalyy said Ukraine can continue its European-integration policy provided the SES is restricted to a free-trade area, but it cannot integrate with the EU if the SES develops into a full-fledged customs union. Meanwhile, First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov wrote in the same weekly on 26 April that Ukraine will focus not on gaining EU membership but on creating social and legal standards that will allow the country "not just to request EU entry but to decide whether it is worth joining the union," Interfax reported. JM
UKRAINIAN LAWMAKER GIVES DETAILS OF MUKACHEVE BALLOT FALSIFICATION. Anatoliy Matviyenko of the opposition Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc said on 26 April that the results of the bitterly contested mayoral election in Mukacheve on 18 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 April 2004) were distorted by an exchange of 12 polling-station protocols when they were on their way to the city election commission after the conclusion of the ballot. Matviyenko was a member of a legislative commission that investigated the Mukacheve election controversy. According to Matviyenko, Our Ukraine candidate Viktor Baloha won the election with 19,385 votes, while rival Ernest Nuser, who was supported by the presidential administration, garnered 13,895 votes. The falsified protocols reportedly gave Nuser 17,416 votes and Baloha 12,297 votes. Our Ukraine claims to have the official copies of polling-station protocols from Mukacheve. JM