Russian Embassy in Minsk seeking release of detained citizens

MOSCOW, December 22 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Embassy in Minsk is seeking the release of the Russian citizens detained in the Belarusian capital on December 19. "It's making all the necessary moves to ensure legal protection and consular assistance to the Russian citizens," Russian diplomats told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

Belarus, in comments on the reasons behind the detention of the Russians, cited "violations of the procedure for organizing or holding mass events or picketing."

"The Russian Embassy in Belarus has forwarded official statements to Chairman of Belarus' Supreme Court Valentin Tsukalo and chief of staff of the Belarusian president Vladimir Makei, with a strong request to provide assistance in setting the arrested Russian citizens free," a diplomat said.

Embassy personnel met with several Russian citizens in the "Krestino" and "Zhodino" pre-trial detention centres. They met with A.Yevdokimov, S.Goreva, A.Burmistrov, A.Baranov, and D.Vokhmintsev. As of now, there is information on eight Russian citizens kept in Belarusian remand wards under the pretext of their alleged participation in unsanctioned actions.

Earlier reports said nine Russians had been detained, but subsequent checks found out that one of them, identified as N.Kulich, was a Belarusian citizen.

All the above citizens are under administrative arrest for ten to 15 days. "They have no complaints about their treatment by Belarusian law-enforcement bodies. All of them asked to tell their relatives about the situation," the Russian Embassy said.

Russian Embassy officials also arranged a meeting with L.Rybalchenko, who is reportedly kept in a remand ward in one of Minsk's districts.

In the evening of December 21, the Embassy ascertained the whereabouts of another two Russian citizens - A.Astafyev and A.Breus. They are kept in the Krestino remand ward. Russian diplomats are to meet with them shortly.

"At present, the Russian Embassy is making all the efforts towards securing the release of the detained Russian citizens," the Russian Foreign Ministry underlined.


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