MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko have commended the cooperation between the countries’ official bodies on the issue of the return of 32 detained Russian citizens, the Kremlin press service informed on Saturday.
"In light of yesterday’s return of 32 citizens detained earlier in Belarus to Russia, [Putin and Lukashenko] have commended the close cooperation of competent agencies on this issue," the message says.
The sides have agreed to maintain regular contacts on various levels, reaffirming their commitment to strengthening partner ties, "which fully corresponds to the core interests of the brotherly nations of Russia and Belarus," the press service added.
The phone call was held on the initiative of Belarus.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said on Friday that "under a motion issued by Russian Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov on August 5 in conformity with the Minsk Convention of Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Cases of January 22, 1993, thirty-two Russian nationals who were earlier detained in Belarus have crossed Russia’s state border." One more person who was among those detained stayed in Belarus as he holds both Russian and Belarusian passports.
Russian Ambassador to Minsk Dmitry Mezentsev later stated that the Russians had been returned in strict correspondence with the norms of international law, stressing that professional cooperation between the country’s prosecution bodies helped carry out this legal procedure.
Early on July 29, 32 Russian citizens were apprehended near Minsk, and one more was detained in southern Belarus. In his address to the nation and the parliament on August 4, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said the Russians were deliberately deployed to his country. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the claims that Russia might have sent its citizens to Belarus to destabilize the situation in the republic.