MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin called his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko Friday to discuss the arrest of 33 Russian nationals in Belarus.

“Both leaders expressed confidence that the situation will be resolved in the spirit of mutual understanding,” the Kremlin said in a statement. “The Russian side is interested in maintaining a stable internal political situation in Belarus and holding the upcoming presidential elections in a calm environment,” it said.

In a separate statement, the press service of the Belarusian president said the detention of the Russian citizens was one of the main topics on the agenda.

“The presidents agreed to study every available fact as thoroughly as possible in order to establish the true causes of the current situation, find those responsible and bring them to justice,” it said.

In late July, 33 Russian nationals allegedly linked to the private military company Wagner were arrested in Belarus. According to Lukashenko, they were going to destabilize the presidential election scheduled for Aug. 9.

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