Kremlin expects clarification of alleged Russian funding for Belarusian opposition outlet

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MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Either co-founder of the Belarusian opposition Telegram channel “Nexta” Roman Protasevich or the Minsk authorities should clarify statements that the outlet received funds from “a Russian businessman,” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

“No one has accused Mazepin [the owner of the Uralchem and Uralkali companies] of anything. Protasevich did not say Mazepin’s name,” Peskov pointed out. “Perhaps, it is him [Protasevich] or the Belarusian authorities that should explain who it was. No need to play cat and mouse,” he added.

“Mazepin says that he has nothing to do with it. Perhaps, Protasevich was talking about someone else, though he did not give any details. And the Belarusian authorities did not provide a clarification either,” Peskov noted, adding: “Since these such allegations and accusations have been made, there needs to be a clarification.”

Protasevich said earlier in an interview with the Belarusian ONT TV channel that the Telegram channel, which the Belarusian authorities viewed as extremist, had received funds from a company belonging to a Russian national “with ties to the Ural region” and the mining industry. Mazepin denied any involvement in funding the outlet.

The Belarusian foreign minister said in an interview with Russia’s Kommersant daily on May 30 that Russian intelligence agencies had provided information to the Belarusian authorities about possible provocations ahead of the August 9 presidential election. According to him, there were assumptions that former Russian oligarchs could have been involved in the activities.