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Meduza journalist detained in Minsk returns to Russia

The journalist’s relatives and the editorial staff could not get in touch with Maxim Solopov for almost two days

MOSCOW, August 12. /TASS/. Maxim Solopov, special correspondent of the Meduza online newspaper, who was apprehended in the Belarusian capital Minsk while covering protests there, has returned to Russia, the newspaper reported on its website on Wednesday.

It noted that Solopov had entered Russia overnight into August 12 accompanied by two employees of the Russian Embassy.

Meduza stressed that the journalist’s relatives and the editorial staff could not get in touch with Solopov for almost two days. Its CEO Galina Timchenko earlier said citing Daily Storm journalists that the correspondent had been beaten during his apprehension. He was released on the evening of August 11.

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Belarus is verifying reports on the detention of Russian citizen Artem Vazhenkov, another Russian national, Igor Rogov, has been released and returned to Russia, Embassy Spokesman Alexei Moskalev told TASS.

"Russian diplomats are verifying reports on Vazhenkov. Rogov is already in Russia," he said.

According to previous reports, the Belarusian Investigative Committee confirmed that Russian citizens Artem Vazhenkov and Igor Rogov had been apprehended in Minsk. It noted that they were among the suspects in a criminal case opened under Part 2 of Section 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in civil unrest).

Protests flared up in Minsk after the results of the August 9 presidential election were announced. According to preliminary data of the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko secured his re-election with 80.08% of the votes, while his key rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered 10.09% of the ballots cast. Some 3,000 people were detained after clashes with police, the Interior Ministry said. Dozens of police officers and protesters were injured.