Vilnius (dpa) – Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius has blamed the state leadership in Minsk for the disappearance without trace of Belarusian opposition leader Mariya Kolesnikova and called for her immediate release.
“The kidnapping of M. Kolesnikova in downtown Minsk is a disgrace,” wrote Linkevicius on Twitter. “Instead of talking to the people of Belarus, the outgoing leadership is trying to cynically eliminate one by one”. This is reminiscent of Stalinist methods.
Kolesnikova is one of the most important oppositionists – she has been missing since Monday. The reasons for her disappearance are still unclear. According to media reports, she may have been kidnapped. The 38-year-old is a member of the Coordinating Council of the Democracy Movement, which is striving for a peaceful change of power in the ex-Soviet Republic.
Several colleagues on the council had previously been arrested, left the country or been forced to leave the country. Among them is the presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovaskaya. She had fled to the neighboring EU country Lithuania after the election.
Recently, there was also a fuss about council member Pavel Latushko. The former minister of culture and current opposition member, who was openly threatened by the authoritarian head of state Alexander Lukashenko, had traveled to Poland and Lithuania for visits. In an interview with the BNS agency, Latuschko stressed that he did not want to become a political emigrant and return to Belarus. However, there was a risk that he would be arrested on his return, he said.