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Belarus: KGB Chief Accuses U.S. Of Staffing Embassy With Spies

Minsk, 29 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The head of the Belarusian KGB, Leanid Yerin, accused the United States today of staffing its Minsk Embassy with spies. Yerin, speaking to journalists in Minsk, alleged that for the last few years, half of the diplomats working at the U.S. Embassy in the Belarusian capital -- some 20 people in total -- have been spies.

Yerin said the United States had the most active intelligence contingent in Belarus. He said foreign intelligence services were especially interested in Belarus's armed forces and defense industry, which cooperates closely with Russia.

The U.S. embassy declined to comment.

The United States this week imposed a travel ban on Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and seven top ministers over human rights violations. Last week, 14 of the European Union's 15 members imposed the same prohibition.