Head Of Russia's Uralchem Denies Financing Belarusian Opposition Telegram Channel

Head of Russia's Uralchem Denies Financing Belarusian Opposition Telegram Channel

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 07th June, 2021) Dmitry Mazepin, the head of Uralchem, one of Russia's largest producers of mineral fertilizers, denied on Monday that either he or his companies had ever financed Belarusian opposition Telegram channel Nexta.

Last week, the arrested founder of the channel, Roman Protasevich, claimed in an interview with Belarusian state media that the opposition received funding from some Russian businessmen. According to him, a Russian oligarch and his company had allegedly given funds to Nexta on a regular basis in exchange for certain content being posted. Though Protasevich did not specify any names, he did state that the company was linked to mining and the Urals region.

"As for the main question financing Nexta. No identities were revealed, but some Names and facts were mentioned: a company that has the word 'Ural,' a company that is a competitor to [Mikhail] Gutseriev [owner of Slavkaliy], and the fact that there were meetings in Poland.

I can say openly and honestly that I am directly related to the companies Uralkali and Uralchem, which have the word Ural in them, but neither I nor my companies have ever financed this Telegram channel," Mazepin told the press.

He stated that the accusations are an attempt to link Russia to the case and exploit the narrative about the involvement of outside forces.

Protasevich, whose Nexta Telegram channel is suspected of instigating last year's post-election protests in Belarus, was arrested on May 23 after the plane in which he was flying from Athens to Vilnius was diverted to Minsk over a bomb threat.

The Kremlin has denied having any knowledge of the identities of the Russian businessmen who allegedly funded Nexta.