Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Belarus on Tuesday to release all those detained during protests following Belarusian presidential elections in December.
Belarusian police detained over 600 protesters in Minsk on December 19 during a large-scale protest following polls that the opposition claimed were rigged. Many have been released, but a significant number, including two Russians, remain behind bars.
"We call for the release of presidential candidates, journalists, human rights activists, and two of our citizens, who have not yet been charged," Lavrov said.
The rioters tried to storm parliament when it was announced that the country's authoritarian president, Viktor Lukashenko, had won a fourth term in office with almost 80 percent of the vote.
The foreign minister admitted that "excessive behavior also occurs in Russia."
"But this does not mean that we should turn a blind eye on what is happening in our neighboring country," he said.
At the end of January the European Union introduced travel and financial sanctions against President Lukashenko and 157 other officials. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it considers imposing sanctions against Minsk counterproductive.
MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti)