"Our union with Belarus is extremely important to us… We shall do everything to strengthen our relations," Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin stated yesterday. Chernomyrdin called the detention of ORT TV journalists in Belarus "unacceptable," but blamed it mainly on a failure of intergovernmental communications. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka released Russian citizens Anatoly Adamchuk, Valery Ostashkin, and Aleksandr Oganov to an ORT executive accompanied by two of the wives in Minsk on August 22. Russian citizens Pavel Sheremet and Dmitry Zavadsky, and Belarusan citizen Uladzimir Kostsin, are still in jail. Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky stated that the Kremlin would continue efforts to release the remaining detainees "mainly on humanitarian grounds." Sheremet and Zavadsky were detained on July 25; Kostsin was detained with Adamchuk’s team on August 15. (Russian agencies, Russian TV, August 24)
Ukrainian Government Revamped.