Belarusian presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya is ‘safe in Lithuania’, the country’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
— Linas Linkevicius (@LinkeviciusL) August 11, 2020
Tsikhanouskaya left Belarus after being retained by the authorities for about seven hours in the Central Election Committee.
She was taken to the border by Belarusian officials; her giving consent made the release of campaign chief Maryia Maroz possible, Tsikhanouskaya’s election agent Volha Kavalkova told TUT.by.
“Svyatlana had no choice. It is important that she is free and alive. She left together with Maryia Maroz. However, part of Svyatlana’s team is still being held hostage,” Kavalkova stressed.
Upon her arrival, the presidential hopeful has addressed Belarusian citizens in a video message:
“I thought that the presidential campaign had given me so much strength that I could stand up against anything. But I seem to remain the same weak woman as I used to be. I have made an unbelievably tough decision on my own. Neither family, including Syarhei [imprisoned husband] nor election team could influence my decision in any way. I know that a lot of people will show understanding, not a few will be bitterly critical, and many will begin to detest me. But God forbid one finds themselves facing the choice I had to face. People, take care of yourselves. A human being’s life is worth much more than what is going on now. Children are above all in life,” she said.
The last sentence makes a number of compatriots think that Belarusian authorities might have exerted pressure on Tsikhanouskaya by threatening her family.