BELARUS'S LEGISLATURE CONDEMNS U.S. CONGRESS RESOLUTION. The Chamber of Representatives on 17 May condemned the U.S. House of Representatives' resolution on Belarus (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 9 May 2000), Belapan reported. The Belarusian lawmakers accused the U.S. Congress of "deliberate" unwillingness to seek "true information" about the situation in Belarus from the Belarusian legislature or the Belarusian embassy in Washington. They also expressed their regret that the U.S. supports the "destructive" Belarusian opposition, which, they argued, "under the pretext of democratic transformation is pursuing a policy oriented toward destabilizing the internal situation" in the country. The Belarusian lawmakers also demanded that the U.S. administration cease exercising "political, economic, and moral pressure" on Belarus. JM

BELARUS, UKRAINE WANT TO EXPAND BILATERAL TRADE. Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yushchenko visited Minsk on 16 May to seek ways to expand and liberalize bilateral trade, Belapan and Interfax reported. Trade turnover plunged from $1.5 billion in 1997 to $700 million last year, primarily because both Minsk and Kyiv lacked hard currency to pay for imports. Yushchenko commented that his talks with Belarusian Premier Uladzimir Yarmoshyn were "quite productive." Yushchenko also met with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to discuss Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's visit to Belarus later this month. Lukashenka said Belarus has "practically no political disagreements" with Ukraine, adding that he will be able to resolve all economic problems between the two states at his upcoming meeting with Kuchma. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS STAGE WARNING STRIKE. Some 6,000 miners at 150 coal mines staged a one-day warning strike on 16 May to demand back wages and the resumption of coal purchases by the state, Interfax and Reuters reported. The protest was organized by the Union of Coal Industry Workers. The union pledged to resort to "harsher protests" by the end of May if the government does not address the miners' demands. Last week's strike organized by the Independent Union of Miners (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 May 2000) ended after the parliament amended the budget to increase subsidies to the coal industry (see "RFE/RL Newsline, 12 May 2000). JM

UKRAINE'S FORMER SPEAKER ACCUSED OF MISUSING FUNDS. An investigative team of lawmakers has charged former speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko with mishandling more than 50 million hryvni ($9.3 million) in legislative budget funds, Interfax reported on 16 May. The team recommended that the parliament ask the Prosecutor-General's Office to look into their findings to determine whether a criminal case should be launched. Tkachenko dismissed the charges, adding that the investigative team was created to compromise the legitimate parliamentary leadership. He noted that he is still a legitimate parliamentary leader and asked the parliament to postpone the decision on the team's appeal until the Constitutional Court rules on the legality of his ouster during the parliamentary standoff early this year. JM