Molotov cocktail attack on Russian embassy in Minsk

31st August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Attackers threw two Molotov cocktails into the grounds of the Russian embassy in Minsk, an embassy spokesman said on Tuesday, as political tensions run high between Russia and Belarus.

"So far we are not making any comment on this incident. We are investigating," a spokesman for the Russian embassy told AFP, referring to the incident late Monday.

A police spokesman said that the homemade bombs set fire to a car parked in the embassy grounds.

Relations between Russia and Belarus, its one-time obedient ally, have become increasingly prickly in recent months and the Belarussian foreign ministry moved quickly to condemn the attack.

"We learnt of the incident at the Russian Embassy with concern and indignation," a spokesman for the Belarussian foreign ministry, Andrei Savinykh, said in a statement Tuesday.

"This is a criminal act of hooliganism, directed against common sense and Belarus-Russia relations," the spokesman said.

The two sides earlier this year had a major row on gas prices and debts, that led to a brief cut in Russia's Europe-bound supplies flowing via Belarus and renewed EU fears about energy security in the former Soviet Union.

Earlier this month, a row erupted over whether Belarus's long-serving president Alexander Lukashenko -- known at home as 'Batka' or 'Dad' -- promised to recognise the breakaway pro-Moscow Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent.

Russian television has also aired a series of documentaries critical of Lukashenko, titled "Godfather Batka," linking him to the disappearances of political opponents.

Lukashenko has ruled the state of 10 million that lies between three EU states and Russia since 1994. He faces presidential elections in the coming months and analysts have speculated Moscow may be tempted to back a rival candidate.

© 2010 AFP

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