MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/. Belarusian authorities’ allegations of collusion between Russians detained in Minsk and Belarusian opposition leader Nikolai Statkevich and blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky are far-fetched, Russian embassy consul Kirill Pletnev told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Saturday.
He noted that diplomats had visited the detained Russian nationals.
"We have a copy of the detention order that was presented to each of our fellow citizens. The document makes the Belarusian authorities’ biased approach quite clear. In particular, I would like to point out that it refers to willful acts by a group of people colluding with Tikhanovsky and Statkevich, which, in our view, is a far-fetched position," Pletnev 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 the upcoming Belarusian presidential election.