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Belarus: Authorities Charge Driver For ORT Crew

Prague, 7 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Belarus authorities yesterday filed charges of illegally entering Belarus against the driver of a Russian television crew.

Yaroslav Ovchinnikov is part of an ORT news team that was detained late last month on charges they illegally crossed the Belarus border from neighboring Lithuania. An ORT reporter and his cameraman have already been formally charged.

Our correspondent in Minsk says Belarus authorities have not allowed the defendants' lawyers to visit their clients during their ten-day detention.

The row over the ORT crew has strained ties between Minsk and Moscow. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has said the incident could prompt him to revise a union treaty he signed earlier this year with Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.