VILNIUS – The Minsk regime's ban on almost all citizens to leave Belarus have made them "hostages in their own country", Belarus' exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Wednesday.
"We understand that now people in Belarus are hostages in their own country, those who are prosecuted, they don't have any chance to get away from the country," Tsikhanouskaya told reporters in Vilnius.
"But this is the situation the regime put Belarusians to. It's not because of the decision of EU leaders; it is Lukashenko who put our country to this condition," she added.
EU member countries could take decisions to open their borders wider to Belarusians fleeing the regime, according to the opposition leader
"This [...] is the decision of European Union countries, and we can't influence this decision, but we advocate for opening land boarders for Belarussians who have escaped," she said.
Franak Viacorka, Tsikhanouskaya's advisor, said that her office is currently in talks with the Polish government and the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry to facilitate the border crossing for Belarusians.
"Unfortunately, it's very difficult, because people are just taken from their busses and cars or turned back without explanation," he said.
"We demand to open borders. We think Lukashenko violates the international law; he violates the basic law, the basic right [to] the freedom of movement, ant we will be working with international organizations, including the UN."
On Tuesday, Belarus' regime further restricted citizens from leaving the country, including those with foreign residency permits.