On Thursday, August 6, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko asked not to frighten the country’s authorities with the consequences of the case of detained citizens of Russia and not to politicize it.
“There shouldn’t be any politicization. We do not need performances, either political or economic. And there is no need to frighten us with the consequences. We know about all the consequences. Don’t frighten us with the Americans, NATO. Not the Americans and not the NATO members sent 33 people here, for that matter, ”BelTA quoted him as saying.
Also, the head of state stressed that the prosecutors general of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine need to get together in order to “figure everything out together.”
On July 29, near Minsk, they detained 33 Russians who are allegedly employees of the Wagner PMC. State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Andrei Ravkov stated that some of the detainees had “Ukrainian origin and also have Ukrainian citizenship”. The Minsk authorities allegedly associated these events with the arrival of more than 200 people in Belarus “to destabilize the situation during the election campaign.”
The Russian Federation noted that the Russians were going to fly to Turkey, but missed the plane. In turn, Lukashenko called the information that the citizens of the Russian Federation were going to fly to Istanbul “a lie” and “a legend”.
A criminal case has been initiated against the detainees on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack. They chose a preventive measure in the form of detention.
On July 31, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine announced that it had brought charges against the Russians detained in Belarus under the article on participation in a terrorist organization, and also turned to Minsk with a request for their temporary arrest. The charges were brought against 28 persons, nine of them are citizens of Ukraine. The department also announced plans to demand the extradition of the detained “participants in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.”
Russian diplomats met with detained compatriots on August 1. Kirill Pletnev, Consul of the Russian Embassy in Minsk, said that the actions of the Belarusian authorities towards the detained Russians are clearly biased.
On August 4, Lukashenko said that the detainees had given evidence to the investigation, according to which they were sent to the republic on purpose and they were ordered to wait. After that, he discussed with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky the issue of extradition to Ukraine from Belarus of participants in the hostilities in the Donbass detained in Minsk.