Belarus, Ukraine beef up border controls after detention of alleged Russian mercenaries

A sign of border line is seen near village Kamenny Log some 140 km from Minsk, Belarus. EPA-EFE/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

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Belarus and Ukraine have agreed to beef up their border controls and expand border cooperation after Belarus detained more than 30 alleged Russian mercenaries near Minsk ahead of Belarus’ presidential election, the Belarusian foreign ministry said.

The move aims to prevent any attempts to destabilise the two countries, the Belarusian ministry said in a statement following a meeting with Russia’s ambassador to Belarus and the acting Ukrainian ambassador there.

The Kremlin said on Thursday it was unaware of any illegal activity carried out by a group of alleged Russian mercenaries detained by Belarus on suspicion of plotting a violent attack in the run-up to an election.

Belarus said earlier on Thursday it suspected the group of plotting “acts of terrorism” ahead of a presidential election in August and summoned Russia’s ambassador on Thursday for an explanation.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow wanted an exhaustive explanation from Belarus about their detention and hoped their rights would be observed in full.

“We don’t have information about any illegal activity carried out by them,” said Peskov.

“We hope to receive information that will allow us to sort this out”.

 

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