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Belarusian leader says another foreign unit was deployed to destabilize country

Alexander Lukashenko insisted that the group of Russians detained near Minsk were not transiting Belarus but had been sent there on purpose

MINSK, August 4. /TASS/. Another unit of foreigners has been sent to Belarus to destabilize the situation in the country, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday, delivering an address to the Belarusian nation and parliament.

"Today, information came through about another unit of foreigners that was deployed to the south [of Belarus]. We should run around to catch them in the woods. And we will catch them all," the Belarusian leader vowed.

Alexander Lukashenko claimed that the group of Russians detained near Minsk were not transiting the country but had been sent there on purpose. "There’ve been various lies about Instanbul, Venezuela, Africa and Libya. These people have testified. They had been dispatched to Belarus on purpose. They were ordered to wait," Lukashenko insisted.

"They had tickets to Istanbul, this is a cover since crossing the Russian border they had to demonstrate here and there that they were flying to Istanbul," the president said.

"Why flying to Istanbul or some African country via Belarus? This could have been easily done from Novorossiysk, from Crimea. You take off and here you are - in Istanbul. Why via Belarus?" the president asked.

"Don’t listen to these lies. We treat these guys humanely, and so we have some result - they have told us everything," Lukashenko said.

Earlier, Minsk detained 33 Russian citizens suspected of plotting to incite mass unrest. The Russian side rejects these accusations.

The presidential election will be held in Belarus on August 9. The Belarusian Central Election Commission registered five presidential candidates, including the incumbent president. Two more candidates, Valery Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko, who is currently under arrest, were denied registration.