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POLICE IN MINSK ARREST BELARUSIANS, UKRAINIANS AT OPPOSITION RALLY. Police detained at least five Belarusians and six Ukrainians immediately after a campaign meeting convened by opposition presidential candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich in Minsk on March 12, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported. It was Milinkevich's third meeting with voters in Minsk on that day and was attended by more than 2,000 people. There were also an unspecified number of activists of the Ukrainian organization Student Brotherhood, who came to Minsk from Ukraine. Police also detained Hanna Horozhenko, a journalist of the Kyiv-based Channel 5, while she was reporting live by the telephone to Kyiv. "The actions of the OMON [riot police] -- that was really something. I have never heard such words addressed to a human being, I have never seen such boorishness. I was shocked," Horozhenko told RFE/RL's Belarus Service later the same day, after she spent several hours in jail and was released following an intervention of the Ukrainian Embassy in Minsk. The fate of the other arrested Ukrainians and Belarusians is unknown. "We have come here with a peaceful purpose, to support the Belarusian people. We see that people are intimidated here. They are afraid but they want changes," a Ukrainian girl named Natalka told RFE/RL shortly before her arrest. JM
UKRAINIAN POLLSTERS FORECAST OPPOSITION PARTY VICTORY IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. A number of Ukrainian polling organizations on March 10 announced their latest predictions regarding the voters' preferences during the March 26 parliamentary elections, Ukrainian news agencies reported. March 10 was the last day before the voting day when the Ukrainian law allowed for making election-survey results public. According to the Institute of Social and Political Psychology, the Image-Control pollster, the Institute of Political and Sociological Studies, and the All-Ukrainian Sociological Service, the opposition Party of Regions led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is poised to win the March 26 ballot with support from 26 percent, 25.9 percent, 26.1 percent, and 20.1 percent of voters, respectively. The support for the Our Ukraine coalition and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc found by these pollsters was 15.7 percent and 17.9 percent, 18 percent and 15.3 percent, 16.7 percent and 22.3 percent, and 16.4 percent and 14.9 percent, respectively. JM
MORE THAN 4.5 MILLION UKRAINIANS WANT REFERENDUM ON NATO, EU MEMBERSHIP. Initiators of a referendum on Ukraine's potential NATO and EU membership have collected more than 4.5 million signatures in support of staging such a vote, Central Election Commission (TsVK) head Yaroslav Davydovych said in an interview with the March 11-17 issue of the "Zerkalo nedeli" weekly. Davydovych said the TsVK will need one month to check the authenticity of collected signatures. Davydovych added that the president of Ukraine has the right to order a recheck of the signatures as well as to request a ruling from the Constitutional Court on the legality of questions proposed for the referendum. Davydovych did not speculate on when, if at all, the referendum might be held. JM
UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS WASHINGTON. Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk visited Washington on March 9-10, where he met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. President George W. Bush, and U.S. congressmen and business leaders, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. "For the USA, Ukraine is a positive example of strengthening democratic values in the world," The Action Ukraine Report newsletter quoted Bush as saying to Tarasyuk on March 10. "To present day we remember the striking days of the Orange Revolution in Kyiv when citizens of Ukraine asserted freedom and democracy," the U.S. president added. Tarasyuk delivered a letter from Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko inviting Bush to Ukraine. JM
MOLDOVA'S PARLIAMENT CENSURES TRANSDNIESTER OVER CUSTOMS DISPUTE. Moldova's parliament on March 10 passed a resolution criticizing authorities in Transdniester for escalating tensions and resisting efforts to reduce smuggling, the Russian news agency RBC reported the same day. Transdniester's leader Igor Smirnov has called new customs regulations implemented by Moldova and Ukraine an economic blockade of the breakaway province (see "RFE/RL Newsline," March 6, 7 and 8, 2006). The resolution passed by Moldova's parliament expressed "deep concern over the dangerous developments in Transdniester" and censured Tiraspol's "separatist" policy, which it said is aimed at "frustrating the constructive efforts by Chisinau, Ukraine, the EU, and the United States to legalize [Transdniestrian] business." BW