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Embassy officer visits Russians detained in Belarus

Belarus announced the detention of 33 Russian nationals on the night of July 29, claiming that they were members of a private military company

MINSK, August 1. /TASS/. A Russian embassy officer has visited Russians detained in Belarus, an official at the Russian embassy in Minsk told TASS on Saturday.

"A consular officer has met with the detained. As far as we know, it was a long meeting," the official said.

Belarus announced the detention of 33 Russian nationals on the night of July 29, claiming that they were members of a private military company. According to recent information, they are suspected of preparations for staging riots. Russia’s Foreign Ministry, in turn, said that they were traveling to Istanbul via Minsk and had all the relevant documents, including airline tickets. However, the Belarusian Investigative Committee insists that the Russians had no plans to leave Minsk for Istanbul.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier that Moscow did not yet have full information regarding the detention of Russians in Belarus and expected the situation to be clarified. Peskov dismissed as speculation allegations about links between the Russians’ detention in Minsk and upcoming Belarusian presidential elections.