VILNIUS/RIGA - The foreign ministers of Latvia and Lithuania have demanded an immediate release of Maria Kalesnikova, a leading member of the Belarusian opposition's Coordination Council.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) wrote on Twitter that political opponents in Belarus still suffer harassment and repressions. He called the news of the abduction of one of the protest leader Kalesnikova "worrying".
"Belarusian authorities must release her immediately," the Latvian minister stressed.
Meanwhile, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius has called the recent kidnapping of Kalesnikova "a disgrace" and demanded her immediate release.
"Instead of talking to the people of #Belarus, the outgoing leadership is trying cynically eliminate one by one. The kidnapping of M.Kalesnikava in downtown of #Minsk is a disgrace," Linkevcius tweeted. "Stalinist NKVD methods are being applied in 21st century’s Europe. She must be released immediately."
Citing witnesses, the tut.by website reports that Kalesnikova, a member of the Belarusian opposition's Coordination Council, was taken into a van by unknown people in central Minsk on Monday morning and taken in an unknown direction.
One witness told the website masked people wearing plain clothes took Kalesnikova into a van near the National Art Museum at around 10.05 a.m.
Interfax news agency cites Maxim Znak, another member of the Coordination Council, who says it was impossible to reach Kalesnikova and other council members on Monday morning and their whereabouts are unknown.