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World|politics|September 8, 2020 / 02:56 PM
Belarusian protest leader detained trying to enter Ukraine: border service
Politician and representative of the Coordination Council for members of the Belarusian opposition Maria Kolesnikova attends a news conference in Minsk, Belarus August 24, 2020. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

AKIPRESS.COM - Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova was detained while trying to enter Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a Belarusian border official told Reuters, a day after her allies said she had been grabbed off the street by masked men.

The circumstances of her attempted journey to Ukraine were not immediately clear, with some media reports initially suggesting she had made it across the border, something border guards on both sides later denied.

The opposition movement on Monday said that masked men had detained Kolesnikova in central Minsk and driven her off in a van, while two other activists disappeared later.

Those two allies successfully crossed into Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Ukrainian border service said.

“Kolesnikova has now been detained, I can’t say concretely where she is, but she has been detained,” Anton Bychkovsky, a representative of the Belarusian border service, told Reuters by phone.

“She was detained in connection with the circumstances under which they (the group) left the territory of Belarus,” he said.

The official Belta news agency said she had been travelling with the two other activists who made it into Ukraine. Kolesnikova could not immediately be reached for comment.

Belta reported that Kolesnikova’s car had accelerated sharply after being confronted by a border guard.

“Kolesnikova was outside the vehicle. In fact, she was pushed from it and it continued moving towards the Ukrainian side,” Belta quoted the border service as saying.

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