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Belarusian opposition leader to visit Berlin


Belarusian opposition leader to visit Berlin

Bealrus Opposition leader
Photo: Sergei Grits/ AP

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today to discuss Belarus’ post-election situation.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has been living under a self-imposed exile in Lithuania since Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election for a sixth presidential term. The August election results were disputed by Tsikhanouskaya—recipient of an official 9.9% of the votes—who claimed election malfeasance. Independent election monitoring organisation Golos corroborated Tsikhanouskaya’s assertion, revealing that she received an estimated 80% of the total votes based on their data.

Tsikhanouskaya’s meeting with Merkel occurs a week after a similar meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron during his recent trip to Lithuania. Both France and Germany have extended their support to the exiled opposition leader, and the EU has placed sanctions on 40 Belarusian government officials suspected of election tampering. Lukashenko intends to respond to this by constructing his own set of sanctions on the EU, although that list has yet to be released.

Today’s meeting is likely to conclude with a reaffirmation of Germany’s support for Tsikhanouskaya, further strengthening her cause. Similarly, today’s meeting in Berlin is likely to push Lukashenko to seek further alignment with Russia, compounding fears in Europe about Russia’s growing influence in Belarus.

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