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Guilt of Russians detained in Belarus not proven, Foreign Ministry says

Earlier, 33 Russian citizens were detained in Belarus on the suspicion of involvement in preparations for staging mass unrest

MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Moscow will not leave in the lurch the group of 33 Russians detained in Belarus. Their guilt has not been proven, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in the wake of Tuesday’s statement by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.

"As far as the Russian citizens detained in Belarus and the show that has been staged over this are concerned, we will not leave them in the lurch. Minsk is well aware of this," Zakharova said.

She stressed that Lukashenko was an experienced politician who had held many election campaigns. In her opinion "he is right in that fraternal relations between the people of the two countries are immune to volatile, time-serving interests, including electoral ones."

"They rely on a firm basis of historical proximity and modern pragmatic cooperation," she said.

Earlier, the Belarussian authorities detained 33 Russian citizens on the suspicion of involvement in preparations for staging mass unrest. The Russian side denies this.

Lukashenko on Tuesday addressed the Belarussian people and parliament with a message. He urged Russia not to manipulate with facts in the situation following the detention of Russian citizens near Minsk.