Moscow to Insist on Soonest Release of Russian Journalists in Belarus

Moscow will insist in its today’s contacts with Minsk that the situation around the detention of Russian journalists in Belarus be settled the soonest possible, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“This situation needs to be settled based, first of all, on humane considerations. During our contact with the Belarusian colleagues today, we will insist on the settlement of this situation the soonest possible,” he stressed.

The Russian top diplomat recalled that many of those detained had no accreditation although applications had been filed in due time and in conformity with all necessary procedures.

Lavrov expressed regret that journalists who are doing their job bona fide during mass riots, including in European Union nations, often find themselves in difficult situations and even are subject to violence. “That is why we will spare no effort, including in our bilateral contacts with all our partner nations, where Russian journalists work, to ensure non-discriminatory attitude to them, naturally, with understanding that everyone must obey by corresponding laws,” he stressed. “We will also insist, within international structures, including the OSCE, on an equal approach to all journalists without seeking to label some mass media as propagandistic. It is very regrettable as it happened not only in Belarus, it is a common topic.”

According to Lavrov, the topic of the detention of journalists in Belarus was not raised at his talks with Maas. “But now we will have a working breakfast. I am sure we will be able to exchange opinion on that matter,” he added.

Daily Storm journalists and defense correspondent Semyon Pegov were detained amid mass riots in Minsk on Sunday. The Russian embassy in Minsk said later they had been released. Media also reported the detention of Meduza journalists and a RIA Novosti press photographer.

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