Moscow has set out its position on detaining the members of the private military company Wagner’s in the official statement posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“Belarus’ odious treatment of the detention of 33 Russian citizens is beneath any criticism,” the statement reads.
According to Russian diplomats, the ‘Wagnerovites’ who had documents and air tickets, were about to fly to Istanbul; Minsk was just a transit location.
All logistic support in the territory of Belarus was provided by a Belarusian company, the Russian MFA states. As the group did not get on its flight Minsk – Istanbul (for unknown reasons), the Russians reportedly had to stay in Belarus waiting for the purchase of new tickets by the above company.
“The attempt to show what happened as outside interference in the affairs of the republic is at least surprising. The Belarusian authorities, including the aviation authorities, have all the necessary documents to establish the truth,” the ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry insists the Russian consuls be immediately allowed to visit the detainees.
On Wednesday, 33 citizens of the Russian Federation who were staying in the Belarusachka health centre in Minsk district were detained on suspicion of making preparations for mass riots. The Belarusian investigators trace the connection between the arrival of the detained Russian militants and imprisoned blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski’s activity. On the same day, Andrey Raukou, Secretary of the Security Council, stated that more than 200 militants had come to Belarus to ‘destabilise the situation during the election campaign’.
On July 30, four presidential hopefuls were informed of the feasibility of ‘provocations’ at pre-election rallies.