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Belarusian Envoy Summoned Over Russian Potash Exec's Arrest

Vladislav Baumgertner, general director of Russia's Uralkali, in a 2011 photo
Belarus's ambassador to Moscow has been summoned to Russia's Foreign Ministry over the arrest of Vladislav Baumgertner, general director of Russia's Uralkali potash-producing giant.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the ambassador on August 27 that Baumgertner's arrest was "unacceptable" and Minsk's refusal to release him undermined the two countries' alliance, the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

Belarusian prosecutors, meanwhile, promised to check the legality of Baumgertner's detention.

He was arrested in Minsk on August 26 and charged with abuse of authority.

He could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Baumgertner was chairman of Belarusian Potash Company (BKK), the now-defunct joint venture between Uralkali and the Belarusian potash firm Belaruskali.

Baumgernter announced in July that Uralkali was leaving BKK.

The move broke up the world's largest potash cartel and led to a steep drop in the commodity's price, dealing a blow to the Belarusian economy.

Based on reporting by Interfax and Bepalan