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Russia Reportedly Removes Belarusian Opposition Leader From Wanted List


Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya speaks at a news conference in Berlin on June 11.

Russian police have removed Belarusian opposition politician Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya from their wanted list at the initiative of the Belarusian authorities, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reports.

The report on June 15 comes a day before U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are due to meet in Geneva for their first face-to-face talks since Biden was inaugurated in January.

Tsikhanouskaya was the main challenger of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Belarus's August 2020 presidential election.

She left Belarus immediately after the vote, fearing for her family's security. She currently lives with her children in Lithuania, where she has continued to oppose the official election results as being rigged in favor of Lukashenka.

Authorities in Minsk placed her on a "most wanted list" after she called for her supporters to stage mass demonstrations against the official election results -- which gave Lukashenka a landslide victory widely seen as fraudulent.

Crisis In Belarus

Read our ongoing coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka ramps up pressure on NGOs and independent media as part of a brutal crackdown against protesters and the opposition following an August 2020 election widely considered fraudulent.

The European Union and the United States refuse to recognize the results and do not consider Lukashenka the country's legitimate president.

Russia, a key ally of Belarus, added Tsikhanouskaya to its wanted list in solidarity with Lukashenka's regime.

Lukashenka has since overseen a violent crackdown against those who've answered Tsikhanouskaya's calls to protest the results.

Thousands of people have been detained, including journalists working to cover the developments.

Most leading opposition figures have been driven from the country, while many of those still in Belarus have been detained by the police.

Belarusian authorities have filed more than 1,800 criminal cases against protesters.

Based on reporting by Reuters and RIA Novosti
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