LUKASHENKA PRAISES UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS FOR ANTI-NATO STANCE. The Belarusian president has hailed the Ukrainian Supreme Council resolution condemning the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia and urging the government to restrict cooperation with the alliance (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 April 1999), Belarusian Television reported on 26 April. At the same time, Lukashenka expressed his regret that President Leonid Kuchma participated in the NATO summit in Washington. Lukashenka made these comments to a visiting Ukrainian Supreme Council delegation, led by Communist leader Petro Symonenko. JM

UKRAINE MARKS CHORNOBYL ACCIDENT ANNIVERSARY. "Despite all difficulties, the state is trying to pursue every opportunity to help and support those [affected] by Chornobyl," UNIAN quoted President Kuchma as saying at a 26 April ceremony to open a new wing of the Center for Radiation Medicine. The same day, some 1,000 people laid wreaths at the Kyiv memorial to those who died after taking part in the Chornobyl clean-up. According to a Health Ministry report, a total of 4,365 people of those involved in the clean-up have died since the 1986 accident. The same report says 167,653 Ukrainians have died as a result of diseases either directly caused or exacerbated by the accident. JM

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN SOUTH AMERICA. Borys Tarasyuk on 26 April began an official tour of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, UNIAN reported. On arriving in Caracas, Tarasyuk said that Latin America is not "terra incognita" for Ukrainian foreign policy. Tarasyuk argued that the region is an important market for Ukrainian products and that Ukraine should actively develop contacts with Latin American countries. Tarasyuk is accompanied by a group of Ukrainian businessmen. JM