Russia's Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned Belarus' ambassador to Moscow to protest the arrest of 33 Russian citizens.

Iran Press/Europe: Addressing the ambassador of Belarus, Russian Foreign Ministry officials demanded that Minsk explain the detention of the 33 Russian citizens.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the arrest of Russian nationals in Belarus on fabricated charges was not in line with the two countries' fraternal relations.

Belarus recently detained 33 Russian citizens on charges of having links to the Russian private military company Wagner at a resort near Minsk.

The National Security Council of Belarus has accused the 33 Russian citizens of attempting to carry out terrorist acts and destabilizing the country on the eve of the presidential election in Belarus.

The detention of 33 Russian nationals in Belarus has sparked intense tensions between the two countries.

Russian presidential spokesman on Thursday denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday and demanded their immediate release.

Belarus's election campaign has been strained since Viktor Babariko, one of the main rivals of incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was accused of money laundering and other crimes.

Valery Tsepkalo, another of Lukashenko's rivals, fled Belarus to Russia last week, saying his arrest was imminent.

Tespkalo, like Babarico, was barred from running in the election.

Lukashenko has claimed that foreign countries, including Russia and opposition groups in Belarus, are seeking to weaken his vote in the August 9 election by launching widespread protests against him.

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, is running for a sixth term in Belarus.


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