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Direct extradition of Russians detained in Belarus to Ukraine not on the table - leader

No one is extraditing anyone until the guilt is determined, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said

KIEV, August 6. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has revealed that he is not considering extraditing Russian citizens detained in the country in as Kiev requests.

"I have never even contemplated it, and I don’t think I will," he said in an interview with Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon Thursday. "We have international agreements with Russia and Ukraine. The crux of the matter is that prosecutors general in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are maintaining contacts. They are working to have a clear picture."

"No one is extraditing anyone until the guilt is determined. While the country that wants these people extradited should prove they are guilty," the leader added.

Yesterday, Ukrainian and Belarusian Presidents Vladimir Zelensky and Alexander Lukashenko discussed the issue of a group of detained Russian citizens. The Belarusian leader revealed that law enforcement agencies will cooperate on that issue in the framework of international agreements signed with Moscow and Kiev.

Later, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told a briefing that Ukraine had already sent a request to Belarus to hand over some Russians who were detained previously. However, he noted, that no response had been received yet. On Thursday, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office announced that Kiev is drafting an official request to extradite 28 people detained in the country.

Detained Russians

Minsk announced that 33 Russian citizens were detained in Belarus on July 29, they are accused of planning a terror attack. Delivering an address to the nation and parliament Tuesday, Lukashenko said that the Russians were sent to Belarus intentionally.

It is known that the Belarusian side communicated the list of detainees to Ukraine. Earlier, the top Ukrainian diplomat underlined that Kiev acknowledges that the list can contain holders of different passports, including Ukrainian. In this case, Kiev will regard them as their citizens.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, pointed out that Moscow does not recognize Ukrainian citizenship of some Russians. Moreover, he noted, "these Russian citizens <…> had a stopover on their way to another country, their stay is not in any way connected to Belarus or Belarusian affairs." Peskov clarified that the detainees are employees of a private security company.