Belarus's Tsikhanouskaya calls for release of opposition leader Kolesnikova

Thursday, 10 Sep, 2020

Two other members of the Co-ordination Council, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, crossed the border into Ukraine in a BMW auto in yesterday's early hours.

The scene described by the state border committee looks like a movie script: "Rodnenkov, Kravtsov and Kolesnikova, who were traveling in a BMW auto, passed customs control at the border and headed towards Ukraine". The footage shows Kravtsov a few minutes before crossing the border, BelTA said on its Telegram channel on Tuesday.

Opposition leaders have either been detained or forced to leave the country as massive protests - a first of their kind - gather steam.

The United States along with the allies are considering "additional targetted sanctions" against Belarus for promotion of accountability of Belarusian authorities involved in human rights violations, said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Tuesday (local time).

"We remind the Belarusian authorities of their responsibility to ensure the safety of Ms. Kolesnikova and all those unjustly detained", Pompeo said.

Sputnik Belarus said Znak was subject to legal proceedings by the investigative committee. "Everything they suggest is a catastrophe for Belarus and the Belarusian people".

The 39-year-old lawyer is likely one of the seven members of the management of the Coordination Council, the presidium shaped to acquire a transition to energy in Belarus and the departure of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus's Russian-backed autocratic leadership has cracked down on the opposition as large-scale protests against the country's longtime leader, Alexander Lukashenko, continue to hit the capital Minsk.

With most opposition figures jailed or in exile, a movement that has drawn tens of thousands of people onto the streets for demonstrations was led in part by musician-turned-politician Kolesnikova, who vanished on Monday, the morning after one of the biggest rallies yet.

The beleaguered leader has looked to Moscow for support.

"Of course, we have plans to return to Belarus".

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya announced that her authorized representative in Minsk, Antonina Konovalova, has disappeared.

Belarus, which means White Russia, is a Russian-majority state in Eastern Europe.

Alexievich dismissed the official accusations, saying in a statement released Wednesday that the council was seeking to defuse the crisis sparked by Lukashenko's reelection to a sixth term by offering to foster a dialogue between authorities and protesters.

Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya, the main opposition challenger to Lukashenko, left for Lithuania a day after the election under pressure from authorities.

Observers say Lukashenko hopes to stem the protests with selective repressions against the opposition leaders and soothe public anger with vague talk about constitutional reform and a new election at an unspecified date.