Released Russian Journalists Leave Minsk to be Escorted by Diplomats to Russian Border

Russian journalists Semyon Pegov, Anton Starkov, Dmitry Lasenko and Vladislav Zizdok, who were released after detention in Belarus, have left capital city Minsk and will be escorted by Russian diplomats to the Russian border, Daily Storm Editor-in-Chief Alena Sivkova told TASS on Tuesday.

“They have left Minsk. As far as I understand, they will be escorted by our diplomats,” she said. “I exchanged messages with Anton and spoke with Dmitry. They feel all right, if I may say so, missing home and families.”

According to Sivkova, they are expected to arrive in Moscow by the end of the day.

On Sunday, Belarus held its sixth presidential election since declaring independence in 1991. Mass protests and clashes with police took place in Minsk and other Belarusian cities on Sunday night into Monday morning after exit poll results were made public.

On the same day, Vasily Polonsky and Vladimir Romensky, reporters of the Russian television channel Dozhd, and their cameraman Nikolai Antipov were detained in Minsk when covering the Belarusian election. According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, they had no accreditation. Meanwhile, Dozhd Editor-in-Chief Tikhon Dzyadko told TASS that documents for accreditation had been submitted back on June 15. The journalists were deported from Belarus overnight to Monday.

It was reported on Monday that Daily Storm and Meduza journalists and defense correspondent Semyon Pegov had been detained on Sunday when the police were dispersing protests in Minsk. Apart from that, Rossiya Segodnya press photographer Ilya Pitalev was also detained. On Monday, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev told the Rossiya-24 television channel that Pegov, Starkov and Lasenko had been released.