Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 149

Russian president Boris Yeltsin yesterday told reporters that he feels "indignant" and expects Belarus’s "president Lukashenka to give explanations" concerning the detention of a three-man Russian Public Television (ORT) crew, which includes ORT’s Minsk bureau chief, Pavel Sheremet. Russia’s Foreign Ministry on July 29 issued a far milder statement, conceding that the crew had been at fault and calling for a "humane" resolution of their case. The three, who are Belarusan citizens, were arrested on July 26 following an unauthorized reporting trip on the Belarus-Lithuania border. They are being held in solitary confinement by the Belarusan KGB, and were formally charged yesterday for conspiracy to trespass the border and to violate state secrets. Minsk lawyer Harry Pahanaylo, a well-known specialist in cases involving government abuses, has taken over the crew’s defense. Earlier this month the Belarusan authorities had accused Sheremet of bias and canceled his accreditation, prompting strongly-worded protests from Russian government leaders. (Russian agencies, Belapan, July 29-30)

European Union-Mediated Talks in Belarus Suspended.