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Two Journalists Fined Over 'Teddy Bear Air Drop'

Journalists Irina Kozlik (right) and Yulya Darashkevich show victory signs from a police car after they had been arrested for posing with teddy bears.
Two Belarusian journalists have been fined the equivalent of $360 each for posing with a teddy bear in a photo session.

Iryna Kozlik and Yulia Darashkevich were arrested on August 8 in Minsk when posing and taking pictures of themselves with a teddy bear, expressing their solidarity with blogger Anton Surapin and businessman Syarhey Basharymau.

Surapin and Basharymau were arrested last month for their alleged involvement in the parachuting of teddy bears from a Swedish plane on the Minsk area accompanied by texts supporting Belarusian dissidents and the country’s opposition.

Belarus expelled the Swedish ambassador last week and announced on August 8 that it was withdrawing all staff at the Belarusian Embassy in Stockholm.

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka stated August 9 that the current Minsk-Stockholm row has nothing to do with the teddy bear air drop.

Based on reporting by Reuters, RFE/RL's Belarus Service, and Interfax