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Russia does not meddle in Belarus’s internal affairs, Kremlin says

Kremlin has no preferred candidates in the Belarusian presidential election, the spokesman said
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 19. /TASS/. Kremlin considers apprehension of Belarusian presidential candidate and Belgazprombank ex-CEO Viktor Babariko an internal affair of Belarus.

"We consider it Belarus’s internal affair and, of course, we have no intention to meddle in Belarusian internal affairs in any way," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

"As for the [Belarusian] election themselves, there will most likely be observers, so all assessment will come later, after it is over," Kremlin spokesman said.

Commenting on allegations that Babariko’s actions were somehow controlled from Moscow, Peskov noted that "naturally, some argumentation must follow here."

"Such allegations against such respectable international companies [Gazprom] cannot be unfounded, they must be reinforced with some arguments," he said.

Answering a question whether Moscow is concerned that the Minsk events affect interests of companies, connected to Russia, Peskov underscored: "Interests of Russian companies, especially our economic giants are, of course, always under protection of the Russian state."

"This is one of our priorities - protection of our companies that work abroad, including in Belarus," he said. "Moscow and Minsk engage in regular contacts on a regular basis."

Kremlin has no preferred candidates in the Belarusian presidential election, according to Peskov.

"The Kremlin has no candidates in the Belarusian election. Only the Belarusian people have candidates in the election," he said, when asked to comment on a claim that former head of Belgazprombank and Belarusian presidential candidate Viktor Babariko is supported by Moscow.

On June 11, the Belarusian State Control Committee informed that it had begun to conduct searches in Belgazprombank. The Committee’s Department of Financial Investigations opened the criminal case under Part 2 of Article 243 (Tax evasion in particularly large amount) and Part 2 of Article 235 (Legalization of criminal income in particularly large amount).

The Department of Financial Investigations of the Belarusian State Control Committee has solid evidence that ex-CEO of Belgazprombank Victor Babariko was involved in unlawful activity, Committee Chairman Ivan Tertel told reporters earlier.

On June 18, Babariko has been detained along with his son Eduard, who heads his election campaign. In total, about 20 people have been detained in relation to this case. Babariko stated that this case and his arrest are politically motivated.