Russia arrests two Belarus coups

Moscow (AP) —Russia’s major security agencies say they have arrested two Belarusians who said they were preparing a plan to overthrow the Belarusian government and kill authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. ..

One of the arrested men, Alexander Feduta, was a spokesman for Lucasenko when he was first elected in 1994, but later joined the opposition. Another lawyer, Yuras Zyankovich, has dual citizenship in Belarus and the United States.

The United States Marshals Service said Saturday that the two had been handed over to Belarus. Russian officials have been informed of the men’s plans by the KGB, a security agency in Belarus.

Russian agencies said the two suspects had come to Moscow to meet an opposition-oriented General of Belarus.

“They specifically detailed military coup plans, including seizing radio and television centers and broadcasting appeals to people, blocking domestic and riot police loyal to the current government,” Russia said. The agency said.

Lukashenko told Belarusian television Saturday that investigators had found evidence of a alleged plot, “probably the FBI, CIA” of foreign involvement.

He repeatedly accused the Western nations of attempting his downfall or even preparing for military intervention after a national protest against Lukashenko, who challenged his election victory, broke out last year.

According to official results, protests began in August after the election that Lukashenko was given a sixth term. Opposition lawmakers and even some pollsters said the results were fraudulent.

Security forces then cracked down on demonstrations, arresting more than 34,000 people, many of whom were beaten. The most prominent opposition figures have fled Belarus or have been imprisoned ever since.