Russian Consul in Minsk Says Met With Detained Nationals, Calls Accusations 'Made Up'

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Embassy of Russia in Belarus

MINSK (Sputnik) – Belarus’ accusation that arrested Russian nationals colluded with opposition to sow unrest in the country are fictitious, Russian Consul to Minsk Kirill Pletnev said after meeting with the 33 detained individuals.

Speaking with Rossiya-24 TV on Saturday, Pletnev that he and several Russian diplomats in Minsk met with the arrested Russian national Friday evening.

“Yesterday evening, the head of the consular department and the consul met with 33 detained Russian citizens in one of the penitentiary institutions of Belarus,” Pletnev said in an on-camera commentary.

Pletnev said that the incidence of arrest shows a marked tendency of Belarusian authorities against Russian nationals.

“The tendential direction of Belarusian authorities’ actions is clearly visible,” Pletnev said, presenting a copy of the arrest report given to each detainee individually.

The diplomat went on to refute accusations that the detained Russians had plotted with opposition presidential candidates Sergey Tikhanovsky and Mikola Statkevich.

“I would like to note that [in the arrest report] it is indicated that a group of persons was deliberately committed by prior agreement together with Tikhanovsky and Statkevich, which, in our opinion, is an absolutely made up and invalid position,” Pletnev said.