DEFECTOR SAYS HE WAS PRESSED TO COMPROMISE BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION... Citing unofficial sources, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 19 July that former Belarusian police officer Aleh Baturyn, who received asylum in Poland, was kidnapped in Poland by Belarusian special services and transported back to Minsk. Baturyn quit his job at the Interior Ministry in February, accusing it of provoking clashes with the opposition (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 15 February 2000). On 21 July, Belarusian Television quoted Baturyn as saying from the U.S. embassy in Minsk: "What was voiced by Radio Liberty is not true. I have never said that I was kidnapped by the Belarusian secret service." A U.S. embassy official told Belapan later that Baturyn had been forced to make that statement in exchange for his safe return to Poland. Baturyn told Belapan from Warsaw on 23 July that he was kidnapped by unknown assailants in Poland and pressed to make compromising statements about the Belarusian opposition and the U.S. embassy in Minsk. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SAYS RUSSIAN DUMA INTERFERING IN DOMESTIC AFFAIRS. Ukraine's parliament has said that the Russian State Duma's 19 July statement on "discrimination against the Russian language in Ukraine" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July 2000) is "a manifestation of interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state," Interfax reported on 21 July. The Ukrainian legislature expressed surprise that "the Ukrainian authorities' intention to secure the inalienable and natural right of Ukrainian citizens to use their mother tongue is interpreted by Russian parliamentary deputies as 'a recurrence of racial discrimination policy.'" The statement also noted that "in the CIS area Ukraine is most likely the only country whose balanced and far-sighted policy has established interethnic accord and peace." "We cannot conduct dialogue [with Russia] on such a level," Deputy Premier Mykola Zhulynskyy commented. JM

UKRAINE HOPES FOR TWO IMF TRANCHES THIS YEAR. Valeriy Lytvytskyy, a top aide of Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yushchenko, has told journalists that if the IMF loan program is resumed in September or October, Kyiv may obtain two tranches worth $250-260 million each before the end of the year, Interfax reported on 21 July. Meanwhile, First Deputy Premier Yuriy Yekhanurov's 22-24 July visit to IMF headquarters in Washington has been postponed until 31 July for "technical reasons," Yekhanurov's press secretary announced. JM