Two days after Belarus protest leader Maria Kolesnikova was reported to be missing, Belarusian authorities detained the opposition leader near the border with Ukraine, officials said on Tuesday
Ukrainian government ministers described the incident as a way to expel Kolesnikova from her native country. According to the Interfax Ukraine news agency, the opposition leader reportedly ripped off her passport so that she could not be deported.
The European nation is currently amid a historic anti-government protest where citizens are demanding the current dictator Alexander Lukashenko resign after over two decades in power and countless unlawful practices.
On Monday, Belarusian news agency Tut.By cited a witness claiming the Belarus protest leader was abducted by two masked men in central Minsk. Kolesnikova was driven off in a minivan amid a protest and since then she remained a mystery.
This development came after the autocratic Belarusian regimen arrested 633 protestors from a protest in Minsk on Sunday – one of the many instances of the Lukashenko-led government is taking to silence the dissent.
Maria is one of the three female oppositions who joined forces after the botched up August elections against longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko.
“Maria Kolesnikova was not able to be deported from Belarus as this brave woman took steps to prevent herself from being moved across the border. She remained on the territory of the Republic of Belarus,” Deputy Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said on Facebook.
“Alexander Lukashenko is personally responsible for her life and health.”
Maria’s disappearance from the mass anti-government protest remained a mystery until the recent whereabouts. Two other Belarusian leaders Rodnenkov and Kravtsov also went missing at the same time.
The two, however, have begun the process to enter Ukraine, State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Andriy Demchenko told Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday.
A Belarusian border service representative told Reuters news agency by phone that maria Kolsnkova has been detained, although her exact whereabouts are unknown.