Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says the Belarusian authorities have not yet provided the Ukrainian side with information about the whereabouts of the Ukrainian citizens detained in that country.
"We demand the immediate and unconditional release of those persons for their return to Ukraine," he said at a briefing on August 13, 2020.
According to Kuleba, it is known three citizens of Ukraine were detained in Belarus on August 12. These are Vostok [East] SOS human rights activists Kostiantyn Reutski and Yevhen Vasylyev, as well as Oksana Alioshyna.
On the minister's instructions, the Ukrainian Embassy sent two notes to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, requesting information on all Ukrainian citizens who were detained from August 9 to August 12, as well as explanations why they were apprehended.
Kuleba said that, according to available information, Reutski and Vasylyev are facing charges of "mass riots," which provide from three to eight years in prison. Last night, searches were carried out at the place of temporary residence of the two Ukrainians in Minsk, during which investigators seized Reutski's computer, Vasylyev's Ukrainian passport, and other things.
Today the Ukrainian consul is visiting all detention centers in Minsk, but so far he has not obtained information about the Ukrainians, the minister added.
Protests in Belarus: What is happening?
- On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus.
- That country's Central Election Commission announced preliminary election results. In particular, 80.23% of voters supported incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, 9.9% voted for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 1.68% for Anna Kanopatskaya, 1.13% for Sergei Cherechnya, and 1.04% for Andrey Dmitriev. Some 6.02% voted against all candidates.
- On the evening of August 9, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to take part in spontaneous rallies, which followed by clashes with law enforcement agencies. The police in Minsk fired water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets in a crackdown on protests.
- Belarus' Ministry of Internal Affairs announced about 3,000 protesters were detained on the night of August 10, more than 2,000 people on the night of August 11, and more than 1,000 on the third night of the protests in different towns and cities across the country.
- Reutski and Vasylyev were detained by the Belarusian law enforcement agencies in Minsk on August 12.