Belarus claims a group of people has damaged the facade of its embassy in London and physically assaulted some of its diplomats, "seriously" injuring one of them.
London's Metropolitan Police force said officers were called to a reported disturbance outside the diplomatic mission on the evening of December 19, where “a member of staff reported he had been assaulted and was left with a facial injury.”
One man was detained nearby, it said on December 20, adding that the investigation is continuing.
Posts on social media show there was a small demonstration outside the Belarusian diplomatic mission on the day the incident took place.
According to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, the injured diplomat required "urgent medical assistance” and was diagnosed with a broken nose, a light concussion, and a broken tooth following the "attack."
The ministry said the alleged attackers were thought to belong to “the radical emigre group Nadzeya."
A Facebook group with the same name as the radical group Nadzeya said it had “nothing to do with yesterday's disgusting incident.”
The group appears to support the Belarusian political opposition amid an ongoing violent crackdown on dissent following last year’s disputed presidential election that handed authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka a sixth consecutive term. Opposition politicians and activists say the vote was rigged.
The West has refused to recognize Lukashenka as the legitimate leader of Belarus, and imposed several rounds of sanctions on his regime.
Western countries also accuse Belarus of having engineered a migrant influx at its border with EU members Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland by letting thousands of people in and encouraging them to cross into the bloc.
Belarus’s Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the U.K. charge d'affaires in Minsk and lodged a “strong protest.”
It demanded a thorough investigation into the incident and said the perpetrators of the alleged attack must be brought to justice.