VILNIUS – Actions of the Minsk regime in sending illegal migrants and closing embassies are a ‘disgusting’ revenge upon Lithuania, Poland and the entire European Union (EU) for their sanctions, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has said.
“Lithuania is supporting Belarusians very much and, of course, it has been done in the sense of revenge of the regime, sending those illegal migrants to the borders and closing of embassies – it’s just disgusting methods of policy of the illegal regime. And what can be done? Fight together, inside the country and outside,” she said during a news conference in Vilnius on Wednesday.
Tsikhanouskaya also stressed that it was “distressing to read reports” about political prisoners who were put on trial and tortured, as well as about the Minsk regime, which, while taking revenge on the EU for sanctions, “at the same time refuses to let Belarusians leave the country”.
“However, I want you to remember: all of this is done by the regime because it’s been more than a year that it has had no control of what is going on in the country. Feeling insecure, the regime makes mistakes and tries to intimidate us even further, suspends all programs of support, relations with the outer world. We all share the task to do what we are able to do without straying off course and to provide help right now to those, who have been harmed by the regime, and to rebuild what has been destroyed by it,” the Belarusian opposition leader pointed out.
Tsikhanouskaya said that the number of individuals recognized as political prisoners in Belarus had already risen to 530 and included Viktar Babaryko, one of Belarus's leading opposition figures who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Tuesday, her husband Siarhej Tsikhanousky as well as Mikola Statkevich.
According to Tsikhanouskaya, her team had already drafted a rehabilitation act, which would allow “releasing all persons, who have been sentenced without being guilty, within two days once it is possible“.
Also, the team was working on an information campaign on a new Constitution, she said adding that the aim of the campaign would be to “discuss in public and, together with the Belarusians, work out a draft of true Constitution” that would replace “the one being written by the regime in secret from the nation”.
Tsikhanouskaya also spoke about her meeting with Charles Michel, President of the EU Council, in Vilnius on Tuesday and said that she had submitted “a proposal on the format of Belarus’ participation in Eastern Partnership” in response to Alexander Lukashenko’s statement that the country was withdrawing from the program.
She added that she had asked the EU “to close any loopholes left to oligarchs and companies – the wallets of the regime – that may allow them circumvent the sanctions”.