Denmark blasts Belarus for kidnapping opposition leader

Denmark blasts Belarus for kidnapping opposition leader

She never crossed the Ukrainian borders, as she tore her passport apart when the Border Guards tried to deport her forcefully.

On Tuesday, the most prominent opposition figure still in Belarus, Ms Maria Kolesnikova, was detained at the Ukrainian border after she prevented authorities from expelling her by tearing up her passport and jumping out of a auto.

Rodnenkov said he and Kravtsov visited Kolesnikova's home in Minsk on Monday after hearing reports that she was missing.

Police detained dozens of people from among hundreds who protested on Tuesday evening against Ms Kolesnikova's disappearance.

Lukashenko's security services have hit back with waves of arrests, deadly violence against protesters and a campaign of intimidation and expulsion against opposition leaders.

"The most recent arbitrary arrests of leading opposition voices and acts of repression are unacceptable", he said.

A growing number of opposition activists have said they were forced to leave the country in recent days under threat from law enforcement.

On September 8, it became known that members of Coordination Council Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov departed for Ukraine. "She confirms she tore up her passport on goal to remain in Belarus". Lukashenko must answer for Kalesnikava's "life and health" after "this courageous woman took actions" to prevent her deportation, he wrote.

In Belarus, another member of the country's opposition has been detained by security agents - the latest in a series of disappearances that have prompted the country's most famous living author, Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, to speak out against "terror against the people."

It was only on Wednesday afternoon that Ms Kolesnikova's father was officially notified that she is being kept in a detention centre in Minsk.

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"What they were interested in was getting Maria Kolesnikova outside the country".

"She was detained in connection with the circumstances under which they [the group] left the territory of Belarus", he said.

Lawyer Maxim Znak, a member of the Coordination Council, which was created by the opposition to facilitate talks with Lukashenko on a transition of power, was taken out of the council's office by unidentified people in ski masks, his associate Gleb German said.

Tikhanovskaya left the country under pressure from the authorities and was granted refuge in European Union member Lithuania. "They said this was necessary to de-escalate the situation in Belarus", Kravtsov said.

Tikhanovskaya's other campaign partner, Veronika Tsepkalo, is now in Ukraine.

'Lukashenko's regime must make her safe return their highest priority, ' said United Kingdom foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

"Maria Kolesnikova was not able to be deported from Belarus as this courageous woman took steps to prevent her [self] from [being moved] across the border", Mr Gerashchenko said.

But the strongman himself told television channels: "If Lukashenko collapses today the whole system would collapse and Belarus would collapse in turn".

The EU has demanded the release of all those "detained on political grounds before and after" the election and is planning to sanction 31 senior Belarusian government officials, stopping short of targeting Lukashenko.

Kolesnikova, a trained flautist and music teacher, entered politics to run the campaign of another opposition politician, ex-banker Viktor Babaryko, who attempted to stand for president against Lukashenko but was jailed and barred from running.

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