MOSCOW/MINSK – Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov refuted claims that Russia could have tasked anyone with destabilizing the situation in Belarus ahead of the presidential election there as slander.
“We are now seeing slanderous claims that some Russian organizations send people to Belarus to destabilize the situation there. Of course, this is nothing but slander. Russia and Belarus are the Union State, we are allies, we are the closest partners, so this is certainly out of question. Of course, it is necessary to clarify this incident with the Russians’ detention. We hope we will receive information allowing us to understand the situation,” Peskov told reporters, Sputnik reported.
Moscow counts on Minsk’s “measured and objective approach” to the investigation of all circumstances regarding the Russian citizens, apprehended in Belarus earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry said. Moscow calls on Minsk to stop escalating unnecessary negative emotions ahead of presidential elections, Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, published on its website Thursday.
“It is necessary to stop the escalation of unnecessary – especially ahead of the presidential elections – negative emotions,” the statement says.
“The attempt to present the incident as a foreign meddling in the republic’s affairs causes bewilderment, at the very least,” the statement says. “The Belarusian authorities, including the air transport ones, have all papers, required to determine the truth.”
According to the Ministry, Russian citizens apprehended in Belarus on Wednesday were traveling to Istanbul through Belarus, with all required papers on their hands.
“The odious interpretation of the apprehension of 33 Russian citizens, provided by the Belarusian side, withstands no scrutiny. We currently know that the mentioned group traveled to Istanbul through Minsk, having all the necessary papers on their hands, including plane tickets. All logistics on the Belarusian territory was provided by a Belarusian company,” the Ministry said. “For unknown reasons, the group was unable to board its Minsk-Istanbul flight and had to stay in Belarus until new plane tickets could be purchased by the Belarusian company.”