Updated at 10:54,14-11-2017

Moscow demands release of Uralkali CEO

by Tanya KOROVENKOVA, BelaPAN

Moscow demands the release of Uralkali Director General Vladislav Baumgertner and the Belarusian government's explanations over his arrest, Grigory Karasin, Russia's deputy foreign minister, said at a meeting with Belarusian Ambassador Ihar Petryshenka in Moscow on August 27, BelaPAN said.

Mr. Karasin noted that Monday's arrest of Mr. Baumgertner and a media campaign to defend it ran counter to the "allied nature of relations between our countries and can influence the schedule of Russian-Belarusian contacts at the political level," said the Russian foreign ministry's press office.

Mr. Karasin condemned as "unacceptable" the "arrest of a businessman staying in Belarus at the invitation of the country's head of government for resolving important issues of Russian-Belarusian economic cooperation."

Mr. Petryshenka promised to communicate the Russian message to Belarus' leadership, said the press office.

Mr. Baumgertner was arrested on Monday as he was about to fly out of Minsk after a meeting with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich.

The Belarusian authorities are seeking the arrest of more executives who combined their duties in Belarusian Potash Company and Uralkali. These include Oleg Petrov, a member of the BPC's supervisory board; Konstantin Solodovnikov, first deputy director general; Igor Yevstratov, deputy director general; and Dmitry Samoilov, head of the chartering department. The four named suspects are Russian citizens. They have been placed on Interpol's wanted list and are said to be staying in Moscow.

The arrest of Mr. Baumgertner is apparently linked to Uralkali's July 30 decision to stop exports through Belarusian Potash Company, its joint trader with Belarusian potash producer Belaruskali. Mr. Baumgertner is chairman of the BPC supervisory board.

Explaining its move, Uralkali cited Alyaksandr Lukashenka's December 2012 decision to allow Belaruskali to export potash through other traders.