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Pro-Russian Leader Of Belarus Community In Crimea Arrested 

A leader of the tiny Belarusian community in Crimea, who is known for his pro-Russia stance, has been detained on fraud and bribery charges.

Writing on Facebook on February 16, Yauhen Suprunyuk says he was arrested on January 26 in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, on "trumped-up charges."

Suprunyuk said he is surprised that he and his associates, "who faced persecution by Ukrainian authorities" for their political activities aimed at uniting Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, are being persecuted by Russian authorities.

Suprunyuk's wife, Aliye Suprunyuk, told RFE/RL that her husband's pretrial arrest had been extended on February 16. She declined to give any other details.

Suprunyuk, who is the chairman of the local NGO, Regional Belarusian National and Cultural Autonomy in Crimea, strongly backed Russia’' annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014.

He served as a lawmaker in Crimea from 1995 to 1996.

According to 2014 census figures, some 21,700 Belarusians live in Crimea, making up less than one percent of the overall population.