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BELARUS MARKS LIBERATION ANNIVERSARY WITH MILITARY PARADE... Some 3,000 troops, tanks, rocket launchers, tractors, and trucks were paraded in Minsk on 3 July to mark the 60th anniversary of Belarus's liberation from Nazi occupation, Belapan and RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported. Participants in the parade included student athletes clad in World War II-era uniforms, farmers driving harvesting machines, and a military band. The show also involved more than 40 civilian and military helicopters and aircraft, including a recently leased Boeing 737. "Belarus has been and will be a peace-loving nation," President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced. "We know what war is like. That is why we use peaceful means alone to advance our foreign policy interests." Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma visited Minsk briefly on 1 July, taking part along with Lukashenka in a meeting with veterans and a wreath-laying ceremony. JM

...AS PRESIDENT VILIFIES NATO, EU IN ANNIVERSARY ADDRESS. President Lukashenka said in an address in Minsk on 2 July to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Belarus's liberation from the Nazis that he is worried by the deployment of NATO infrastructure in the former Baltic republics of the USSR and by Ukraine's decision to seek NATO membership, Belapan reported. "We have been reassured and told that all this [NATO enlargement] is not targeted against us. But against whom [is it targeted]?" Lukashenka said. "We cannot forget that our people were killed not only by German fascist invaders, but also by their henchmen of various nationalities, including Baltic SS officers.... Today, being part of the European Union,... they, SS veterans, stage parades and recall their combat past. While their children and grandchildren are disposed again to dictate what order Belarus should have." Lukashenka also expressed his discontent with EU policies in general. "We cannot accept the arrogance of European bureaucrats who, in company with a handful of lured oppositionists, are trying to teach Belarus a lesson for its obstinacy," he emphasized. JM

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN STARTS IN UKRAINE, WITH FOUR PEOPLE VOWING TO RUN. The campaign for the 31 October presidential election started officially on 3 July, Ukrainian media reported. The Central Election Commission has already registered three major contenders for the post of president: Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko, and Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko was meanwhile proposed as a presidential candidate by a party congress on 4 July. The commission may nullify the registration of a presidential candidate if he or she fails to supply at least 500,000 signatures in support of his or her candidacy by 20 September. JM

OUR UKRAINE LEADER VOWS TO ELIMINATE CORRUPTION... Our Ukraine leader Yushchenko told an estimated 50,000 people in Kyiv on 4 July that he will make Ukraine a European country and eradicate corruption in the government if he wins this year's presidential election, Ukrainian media reported. "The authorities will work for the people, corruption will be ended, all will be equal before the law, and bandits will go to jail," UNIAN quoted Yushchenko as telling a crowd of supporters that gathered shortly before he submitted the documents necessary for his registration as a presidential candidate to the Central Election Commission. "I see Ukraine as a state that is respected and valued by its own citizens as well as treated with respect in both the West and the East," Yushchenko added. He formally proposed his presidential candidacy as an independent (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 June 2004). JM

...AND SIGNS ELECTION COALITION DEAL WITH YULIYA TYMOSHENKO. Yushchenko and Yuliya Tymoshenko, the leader of the eponymous opposition bloc, signed a coalition accord in Kyiv on 2 July to pool efforts in the presidential-election campaign in order to promote a Yushchenko victory, Interfax reported. The accord sets up a new parliamentary group, the Force of the People (Syla narodu), which will unite all lawmakers of the pro-Yushchenko coalition. The deal also proposes a program of joint actions, called the Manifest of People's Victory, in order to "take over power in Ukraine for cleaning [the country] of criminal clans and political banditry" and build a "democratic and just state under the rule of law." The accord stipulates that in the event of Yushchenko's victory in the 2004 presidential ballot, the distribution of posts in the future government among coalition members will be carried out proportionally to their gains in the 2002 parliamentary election. JM

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT CLEARS WAY FOR REVERSE USE OF ODESA-BRODY PIPELINE. Prime Minister Yanukovych has signed a resolution amending a February cabinet decision on the use of the Odesa-Brody pipeline to pump Caspian oil to Europe (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 February 2004), Ukrainian media reported on 6 July. The recent resolution effectively allows the use of the pipeline in both directions and is seen by some Ukrainian observers as a concession to Moscow, which has lobbied for the transport of Russian oil through the pipeline to the Black Sea port of Odesa. Yanukovych commented on the resolution on 6 July by saying that the pipeline will be used "in different modes depending on the situation," Interfax reported. JM

MOLDOVAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL CHARGES BANK WITH MONEY LAUNDERING. The Prosecutor-General's Office on 5 July announced it has launched proceedings against Moldindconbank on suspicion of laundering 49.8 million lei ($4.3 million), Infotag reported. The Center for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption said it ordered Moldindconbank to freeze suspected illicit funds in a special account but the bank failed to obey the order. Infotag reported that the laundered money was transferred to Latvian Trasta Komertbanka. The Prosecutor-General's Office said it is also investigating Moldindconbank's possible involvement in transactions associated with Ukrainian Prominvest. In November, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) accused Trasta Komertbanka of illegal activities in Russia. Several individuals were then arrested on charge of money laundering, including Latvian banker Aleksei Ushakov, according to Infotag. MS