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Tsikhanouskaya Accuses Lukashenka Of 'Treason' Over Belarus's Role In Ukraine

By RFE/RL February 26, 2022

Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya says she has declared herself the country's "national leader" because authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka committed treason with his actions surrounding Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Lukashenka committed treason - he made our country a participant in the invasion of Ukraine," she said in a video posted on Twitter on February 26.

Lukashenka committed treason - he made our country a participant in the invasion of Ukraine. So I declared myself as the national leader of Belarus to protect the sovereignty & independence of our country, represent it in security negotiations & crisis management in the region. pic.twitter.com/IyQ0YOM7Kf
— Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) February 26, 2022

"So I declared myself as the national leader of Belarus to protect the sovereignty & independence of our country, represent it in security negotiations & crisis management in the region."

Although Lukashenka claims Belarusian troops have not joined in the conflict, Russia has used the territory of Belarus to launch deadly attacks on Ukraine this week, including the seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Russian troops, at least some of whom were already in Belarus for hastily called military exercises earlier this month, have been allowed transit through Belarus to neighboring Ukraine. Minsk has also made the country's fueling stations, air defense and traffic control systems, available to Moscow.

Lukashenka also said on February 24 that Belarusian troops will join in the fighting "if it is necessary for Belarus and Russia."

The 39-year-old Tsikhanouskaya, emerged as the face of the opposition to Lukashenka after facing off against the strongman in a presidential election in August 2020 because her husband had been detained to prevent him from running.

After her husband was disqualified, Tsikhanouskaya mobilized voters and won the election, according to the opposition and Western countries.

Tsikhanouskaya has been living in exile in Lithuania since fleeing Belarus due to concerns about her safety and that of the couple's two children during a subsequent crackdown on dissent by Lukashenka.

With reporting by by Foreign Policy, Reuters and AP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/tsikhanouskaya-lukashenka-treason- belarus-ukraine/31725167.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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