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Two Pro-Russian Activists Detained In Belarus

Two pro-Russian activists have been detained in Belarus on suspicion of inciting ethnic discord.

Activists Dzmitry Alimkin and Yuriy Paulavets were detained on December 6, their relatives and friends say.

Alimkin's wife said on December 8 that police searched their apartment in the western city of Brest on December 6 and detained her husband on suspicion of inciting ethnic discord via the Internet.

Paulavets' friends said earlier that he was detained in Minsk on December 6 on similar charges.

Both Alimkin and Paulavets are known for their pro-Russia articles, criticizing Minsk for "pro-European policies" in online publications in Belarus and Russia.

Governments in the former Soviet republics have been concerned about Moscow's intentions following its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed separatists have seized control of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

On December 8, a court in Kazakhstan sentenced a local man to five and a half years in prison for inciting separatism via the Internet.

With reporting by Nasha Niva and
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