Eleven Arrested In Belarus For Online Comments On Russian Paratroopers’ Deaths

Russian paratroopers board an Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane as they take part in joint military exercises in Russia's Kaliningrad region in September.  

Eleven people have been arrested in Belarus for their online comments about the deaths of two Russian paratroopers during joint Russian-Belarusian military maneuvers last month.

The Belarusian Interior Ministry said on December 1 that the two were charged with inciting social hatred and discord.

The ministry said that investigators had identified more than 50 people who "posted desecrating and insulting statements" about the soldiers’ deaths, and some of them "continue to write cynical statements while being in the United States, Poland, and Lithuania."

The ministry said most of the people who posted derogatory comments were "socially unstable individuals."

Two Russian paratroopers died on November 12 during the joint military exercises near the western Belarusian city of Hrodna, close to the Polish border, after a strong wind disrupted their jumps.

Many Internet users in Belarus have criticized the joint military drills, saying that it was part of Moscow’s wider goal of incorporating Belarus into Russia.

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