Tsikhanouskaya Says She's Nothing To Ask Putin, Except To 'Respect Our Sovereignty'
Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya says she has been contacted by world leaders from several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany. But she said Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has close ties with Belarus, had not been in touch. Tsikhanouskaya said she would not attempt to contact him herself. "I don't have anything to ask him about, just [to respect our] sovereignty," she said in an interview with Reuters in Vilnius on August 22. Tsikhanouskaya moved to the capital of neighboring Lithuania, an EU member, for safety reasons following an August 9 Belarusian presidential election that sparked ongoing strikes and protests against the official results, which claimed incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka had won in a landslide. “Sooner or later he will have to leave,” said Tsikhanouskaya. She also said that people in Belarus have changed in recent months and will no longer accept Lukashenka as their president.