Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Belarus reduces poll protest charges against Russians

RIA Novosti

Belarus will not charge two Russian nationals detained with organizing riots in Minsk after the disputed December 19 presidential polls, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Belarus said on Friday.

More than 600 people, including eleven Russians, were detained during the protests against polls, called "flawed" by international observers, that secured President Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office.

Ivan Gaponov and Artem Breus were subsequently accused of organizing the riots, which saw an attempt to storm parliament. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail.

"The Russians are now charged only with participation in the mass protests, which carries from three to five years behind bars," embassy spokesman Vadim Gusev said.

The Russian embassy earlier criticized the Belarusian authorities for keeping the two men in custody for a month without providing evidence of their guilt.