President Vladimir Putin has called on the Russian government "not to slow down" in the upholding of the rights of citizens of Russia abroad. Opening up a customary Monday conference with cabinet members, the head of state observed that the Foreign Ministry and other agencies have been giving this question the required attention in recent time. There can be "no slowing down" here, he stressed. "Every step must be understandable to people for whom it is made, fit in the activities of international human-rights organisations and be duly understood by the leaderships of the countries with which Russia is working on this problem", said Putin. The conference is attended by Security Council secretary Vladimir Rushailo, Vice-Premier and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, vice-premiers Ilya Klebanov, Valentina Matvienko and Victor Khristenko, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Economic Development Minister German Gref, Federal Security Service director Nikolai Patrushev, first deputy chief of the Kremlin administration Dmitri Medvedev.
According to Russian officials, the detainees are employees of the private security company who were on their way to Latin America via Minsk and Istanbul. Lukashenko calls Russian officials liars