MINSK, July 30. /TASS/. Russian citizens, apprehended in Belarus, were en route to the third country, and they have a labor contract with a commercial company, registered in Belarus, Russian Ambassador in Minsk Dmitry Mezentsev said in a statement Thursday.
"The Russian citizens, who arrived at the Belorusochka sanatorium near Minsk, had to do that because they were late to a flight from the Minsk National Airport to a third country," the diplomat noted.
The Russians did not intend to stay in the republic and were about to fly from Minsk to Istanbul, the envoy added.
"They planned to depart from Minsk to Istanbul on July 25 and they did not intend to stay in the republic for any prolonged period of time; they planned to return to the Russian capital from another state much later, also by plane, bypassing Belarusian territory," he said.
The envoy underscored that the reason why the Russians came to Belarus was "a contract, signed with one of commercial companies, registered here in Belarus," adding that "each of them had a labor contract with this company."
Mezentsev disclosed that, according to the information which is yet to be clarified, "the Russian citizens may be employees of a private security company, contracted with protection of energy infrastructure and resources abroad - not in Belarus."
According to reports from the Belarusian side, early on July 29, thirty-two Russian citizens were apprehended near Minsk, and another was apprehended in southern Belarus. They are suspected of plotting mass unrest. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry summoned Russian envoy Dmitry Mezentsev and the Ukrainian charge d’affairs, "given the confirmed information that some of those in custody had been previously involved in combat in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine."
Belarus and Ukraine agreed to tighten border control following the meeting.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier, that Moscow still did not have thorough information about the incident, including any unlawful actions that could have triggered the dozens of detentions. According to Peskov, Moscow does not recognize the Ukrainian citizenship that some of those presently in custody hold. Peskov called any statements regarding the incident’s connections to the upcoming presidential elections in Belarus "theories."