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BELARUSIAN COURT UPHOLDS JAIL SENTENCES FOR UKRAINIAN DEMONSTRATORS... The Minsk City Court on 3 May rejected appeals by five Ukrainians of jail sentences handed down for their participation in an anti-presidential demonstration in Minsk on 26 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 May 2005), RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported. The same court on 30 April released 14 Russians who were detained and sentenced to jail time for participating in the same demonstration (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 May 2005). The five Ukrainians, all members of the National Alliance youth association -- Ihor Huz, Andrey Bokach, Oleksandr Hrymalyuk, Oleksiy Panasyuk, and Oleksandr Mashlay -- were sentenced to jail terms varying from nine to 15 days on 27 April and went on a hunger strike on 28 April. The National Alliance picketed the Belarusian Embassy in Kyiv on 3 May, demanding that the Belarusian authorities free their colleagues in Minsk. JM
...AS BELARUSIAN ENVOY SAYS KYIV FAILED TO ASK FOR THEIR RELEASE. Belarusian Ambassador to Ukraine Valyantsin Vyalichka told journalists in Kyiv on 3 April that Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus Petro Shapoval, in contrast to Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Blokhin, has not asked Belarusian authorities to release his compatriots detained during the 26 April demonstration in Minsk, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported. Vyalichka also claimed that Ukraine, unlike Russia, did not demand permission to see the Ukrainian detainees immediately after their arrests. "I have no words to comment on such statements!" Ukrainian consul in Minsk Vasil Serdeha told RFE/RL. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on 3 May that it is "disappointed" with Minsk's reluctance to shorten the five Ukrainians' jail sentences, and added that it is considering an appeal to the Belarusian Supreme Court against the ruling of the Minsk City Court. JM
MINSK COUNTERACTS 'COLOR REVOLUTIONS' WITH 'FLOWER REVOLUTION.' Belarusian Television's main newscast Panarama on 3 May reported on an initiative of the state-controlled Belarusian National Youth Union (BRSM) called "The Belarusian-Style Flower Revolution." The report ran as follows: "Through the efforts of the BRSM grassroots organizations, flower beds in front of the Moskva and Kyiv cinemas [in Minsk] were adorned with violets and wild pansies. Flowers were also planted in front of the U.S. Embassy in Minsk. According to the project's coordinators, the youth group exemplified the peaceful and creative aspirations of the Belarusian people. 'We don't need color revolutions. We only accept flower ones,' the project's participants chanted." JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT UPBEAT ON FORGING TRIPARTITE ELECTION COALITION. President Viktor Yushchenko said in an interview with the UT-1 television channel on 3 May that he is sure that the Our Ukraine People's Union, which was created earlier this year to support him (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 11 March 2005), will form a coalition for the 2006 parliamentary elections with the eponymous bloc led by Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko and the People's Party of Ukraine headed by parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn. In a separate interview with the 1+1 television channel on 3 May, Yushchenko expressed confidence that such a coalition could be created as early as this month. "I see this as an optimal development," Yushchenko said. "It seems to me that today these three forces enjoy a critical level of trust among the population. In my opinion, this level will easily allow [us] to form the core of a future parliament." Yushchenko also positively assessed his first 100 days in power. "We have not betrayed any slogan voiced on the Maydan [Independence Square in Kyiv during the 2004 Orange Revolution]," Yushchenko told UT-1. "Today I can address any segment of society -- be it veterans, children or whoever else -- and say that we have worked for them." JM
UKRAINIAN SOCIALISTS GROW FATTER BEFORE 2006 ELECTION. Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz on 3 March signed an accord with Vasyl Volha, head of the All-Ukrainian Union Public Control, on a merger of the two organizations, Interfax and the "Ukrayinska pravda" website (http://www2.pravda.com.ua) reported. Under the agreement, Public Control will be dissolved and its members absorbed by the Socialist Party. The two sides said the merger was necessary in order to strengthen "the influence of democratic and socialist forces" in society ahead of the 2006 parliamentary elections, which are to take place under a fully proportional, party-list system. Public Control claims a membership of 74,000. JM