On June 9, Belarusian opposition Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya made a speech via videolink at the hearing US Policy on Belarus held by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She spoke about the forced landing of the Ryanair plane, the persecution of activists and journalists, the escalation of repression, sanctions against the Lukashenka regime, and answered questions from US senators.
According to her, the response from the international community to the crackdown against pro-democracy protests has been principled but gradual, sporadic, often symbolic, and diminishing, which helped the regime to adjust and to develop a growing sense of impunity.
“The international reaction [to the Ryanair incident] has finally been swift and effective: imposing practical measures and starting an ICAO investigation. However, the international reaction must not be limited to the Ryanair flight incident. The entire situation in Belarus deserves a comprehensive and unwavering response. Otherwise, we all will face such situations in the future, as Lukashenka is turning my country into a North Korea of Europe – non-transparent, unpredictable, and dangerous. The United States, acting together with its partners in Europe and with other like-minded nations, has the power to put a stop to this trajectory,” Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya said in her speech.
The politician urged the United States to:
In her opinion, the above mentioned actions would help build up the momentum to launch a transition to elections, which is exactly what Belarusians demand. Otherwise, Lukashenka and other dictators around the world will feel impunity to freely break international norms to crush their opponents, Tsikhanouskaya stressed.