FM Kuleba: Consul has not found Ukrainians detained in Belarus
The whereabouts of Kostiantyn Reutsky, Yevhen Vasylyev, and Oksana Alioshyna detained in Minsk are unknown. Ukraine’s Embassy has sent inquiries to the Foreign Ministry of Belarus requesting information.
“This morning, the Ukrainian consul visited the two largest temporary detention centers in Minsk but failed to obtain any information about the possible whereabouts of the mentioned Ukrainian citizens. The Belarusian authorities do not inform us about the whereabouts of our citizens. The consul goes around the places, where they hold detained persons, in order to find out at least some information about our compatriots,” Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said at an online briefing on August 13, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
It is rather difficult to search for Ukrainian citizens as more than 6,000 people were detained in Minsk on August 9-12 and all temporary detention facilities in the city are overcrowded, the minister noted.
“In pursuance of my order, the Embassy of Ukraine has sent two inquiries to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus requesting information about all Ukrainian citizens detained by law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Belarus on August 9-12 as well as information about the reasons for detention of Kostiantyn Reutsky, Yevhen Vasylyev, and Oksana Alyoshyna detained yesterday. We demand an immediate meeting of the consul with these detainees and with other Ukrainian citizens if there are any in order to return them to Ukraine,” Kuleba stressed.
According to the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, the charges filed against Reutsky and Vasylyev are already known.
“As of now, we have managed to find out the following: the citizens of Ukraine are charged with commission of a crime under Paragraph 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus ‘participation in mass events entailing deliberate organization of mass riots accompanied with violence against people, debacles, arsons, destruction of property or armed resistance to the authorities’,” Kuleba said.
The minister added that people charged under this article may face from three to eight years in prison.
In the evening of August 12, a search was conducted at the place of temporary residence of Ukrainian citizens in Minsk. As a result, a laptop of Kostiantyn Reutsky, a passport of a citizen of Ukraine Yevhen Vasylyev and other belongings were seized.
On August 13, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Belarus Ihor Kyzym had a telephone conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei. Ukraine will actively work on this case during the day in order to get the results we need, Kuleba stressed.
“I emphasize once again that the fate of our fellow citizens, who get into difficulties abroad, is an absolute priority for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And we rely on the constructive position of the Belarusian authorities in this matter and are ready to work with them,” Kuleba said.
The minister also stressed that Ukraine is interested in Belarus being a sovereign, independent, democratic country with strong economy and stable social relations.
“Ukraine is ready for a constructive dialogue with the Belarusian authorities, but I want to emphasize that we will be very tough in protecting the rights and interests of Ukrainian citizens in Belarus, and no one should have any doubts about that,” Kuleba said.
As reported, Ukrainian citizens Kostiantyn Reutsky and Yevhen Vasylyev were detained in Minsk at about 17:00 on August 12.
The presidential election was held in Belarus on August 9. According to preliminary results announced by the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko garnered 80.23% of the vote, while opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya got 9.90%.
On the night of Monday, August 10, protests against election fraud began in Belarusian cities. Security forces brutally dispersed the protesters with rubber bullets, stun grenades, and water cannons. About 6,000 people have been detained since the protests began. At least 250 people have been hospitalized.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was forced to leave Belarus. Currently, she stays in Lithuania.
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