Belarus should soon release the 33 Russians detained near Minsk. This was announced to Izvestia in the State Duma… They noted that, handing over the citizens of the Russian Federation to Ukraine, the union republic will cross the line, after which it will be difficult to fix something… At the same time, the parliament of the union state assured Izvestia that the extradition of Russians to Kiev is extremely unlikely. President of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko, after a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, proposed to decide the fate of the detainees to the Prosecutor Generals of the three states, which, in his opinion, should fly to Minsk for this. And although the leader of the country said that this issue should not be politicized, according to experts, this is what he is doing a few days before the elections.…
Already on August 9, Alexander Lukashenko will face another test with the presidential elections, which he clearly intends to win with confidence. However, this time, in addition to the usual search for internal enemies in the electoral cycle, the Belarusian authorities found and managed to neutralize the allegedly external enemies of the republic. These are the 33 Russians who were transiting through Minsk to a third country. Those arrested on the night of July 29 are suspected of preparing riots in the republic.
Alexander Lukashenko in harsh terms, albeit with a certain degree of political accuracy accumulated over 26 years of leadership of the state, actually accused some Russian forces of interfering in local affairs… During the time that the citizens of the Russian Federation spent under arrest, the leader of the union country managed to urge the representatives of Moscow to “stop lying and stir up any confusion”, discuss with Vladimir Zelensky the possible extradition of the detainees to Ukraine and call the prosecutors general of the countries to Minsk to solve the problem.
“They are already whining, they are already squeaking, they are already shouting,” Aleksandr Lukashenko was indignant on August 6, without a grain of political coloring over the reaction of Russians to the situation.
Chairman of the State Duma Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Kalashnikov
Photo: RIA Novosti / Press Service of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
Meanwhile, the State Duma told Izvestia that Belarus would not dare to extradite Russian citizens detained near Minsk to Ukraine and that 33 people would soon be released.… According to the head of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Kalashnikov, only Ukrainian citizens can be extradited to Ukraine, in this case we are talking about Russians.
– We will not allow this to be done and firmly stated this to the Belarusian leadership… Once, perhaps, some of these people were Ukrainian citizens. But half a million people in the DPR and LPR have taken Russian citizenship. At the same time, according to the new legislation of the Russian Federation, they did not have to abandon the Ukrainian one. Therefore, we consider the detainees as Russians, and on this basis we will defend them, ”the parliamentarian told Izvestia.
The politician called “complete nonsense” the allegations that one of the detainees was a participant in hostilities in eastern Ukraine… After all, according to him, then it is necessary to detain every resident of the DPR and LPR, who calmly visited Belarus all this time.
– Then you will have to completely cross out both the Minsk agreements and transit through Belarus. If someone has a desire to use them as a bargaining chip, they should understand, including in the republic, that this will be the very step after which you will not get off with any silences and creeps. You can argue as much as you like about gas, price, and so on, but crossing this line, it will be difficult to change something, ”concluded Leonid Kalashnikov.
Relationships out of context
In Minsk, they admit that the detainees cannot be extradited to Ukraine… Moreover, from a legal point of view, this is virtually impossible.
– The decision to extradite the 33 detained Russians is extremely unlikely given the political aspect of the entire situation. Even from a legal point of view, it is difficult to prepare the grounds for such an action. Relations between our two countries are outside this context, and they are fundamental… The quality of these relationships cannot be compromised by situational disagreements. This was very thoroughly stated in the message to the people by Alexander Lukashenko. And indeed it is, – Andrei Savinykh, deputy of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, chairman of the Standing Committee on International Affairs, told Izvestia.
According to him, the two countries are facing a very serious task – the creation of an independent Eurasian macro-region.
– Russia and Belarus are integral parts of the Eastern European civilization. And in this regard, integration efforts and allied relations simply cannot be underestimated.… I, as the chairman of the international affairs commission, will do everything in my power to strengthen Russian-Belarusian relations, both within the framework of the union state and within the framework of the EAEU, the Belarusian deputy added.
And what measures
According to the political scientist, head of the department of the Institute of CIS Countries Vladimir Yevseyev, the extradition of at least one citizen of the Russian Federation to any other country, including Ukraine, is a crossing over the red line, after which Russia will apply political and economic measures… At the same time, one must understand that during the presidential elections in the republic, such actions as extraditing at least a few Russians to Kiev are possible, the expert believes.
– Measures in relation to Belarus can be different. With regard to economic: this hard refusal to Minsk to provide loans and refinance the state debt of Belarus… It can also be the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant is suspended, the border is closed due to a sharp increase in coronavirus infection, because in the republic priority is given not to people, but to the economy. That is why there is a large number of sick people, and the official data are seriously at variance with the unofficial, – said the political scientist.
One of the most severe measures may be restrictions on the supply of Belarusian goods to the territory of the Russian Federation.… It is also worth remembering that with a population of 9.5 million people, almost half a million active citizens are constantly on the territory of Russia, and some of them, to varying degrees, have problems with law enforcement, Vladimir Evseev recalled. The political scientist is sure: if Minsk continues to use Russians as a bargaining chip, then concessions for the sake of maintaining the country’s membership within the Union State or the EAEU can be forgotten.