Russia Warned Belarus about "Sad" Consequences of Contract Soldiers Arrest

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Dmitry Medvedev said that Minsk turned bilateral relations into “bargaining chip” in the election campaign Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev called the 33 Russian private military contractors arrest in Belarus an element of pre-election political technology and warned that this could have sad consequences for relations between the two allied countries. Belarusian authorities arrested Russian contractors outside Minsk last week, accusing them of planning riots amid growing opposition protests ahead of Sunday's elections, in which President Alexander Lukashenko is seeking re-election for the sixth term. Russia demanded to release the private firm contractors, stating that they were in Belarus only because they missed their connecting flight to another country. Medvedev has sharply raised the stakes in the dispute stating that the Belarusian leadership has turned bilateral relations into " bargaining chip during the election campaign." Without mentioning Lukashenko’s name, Medvedev called the Russian contractors’ arrest part of "a fairly simple political technology - to mold the image of the enemy and achieve a political result using the image of the enemy." “This not only causes a feeling of resentment but it is very sad so will be the consequences of this,” Medvedev added.