The suspects in this week’s subway bombing in Minsk that killed 12 people have confessed, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
"We know who did it and how," he said today at a government meeting, according to state-run news agency Belta. "We don’t yet know why, but we’ll know soon."
An explosive device went off during the evening rush hour on April 11, also wounding 192 people at Minsk’s busiest metro station, which is near the presidential residence. Lukashenko said his political opponents will be questioned in connection with the crime, the Russian state-run news service RIA Novosti reported from the capital Minsk.
Authorities detained three people in connection with the explosion, including one suspect, Belta cited Vadim Zaitsev, chief of the Belarusian security agency, as saying yesterday.
Lukashenko, 56, whose government is under European Union sanctions, extended his 16-year rule in December elections that international observers condemned as undemocratic. His regime, dubbed the “Europe’s last dictatorship” by the U.S., cracked down on demonstrators after the vote, arresting more than 700 people, including opposition candidates.
The subway attack sought to destabilize the situation in the country and may be indirectly linked with the election, Zaitsev said yesterday, Belta reported.
Belarus, which lies wedged between EU member Poland and Russia, transports about a fifth of Russian gas shipments to Europe. It has been struggling to keep its public finances afloat in recent weeks after foreign reserves dwindled and ratings services downgraded the country’s debt. The government is seeking a loan of $3 billion from Russia and other former Soviet partners.
To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at firstname.lastname@example.org