Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Tuesday a non-violent transition to democracy from dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s “hell” was possible in the former Soviet republic.
Ms. Tsikhanouskaya met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday at his office in London. Mr Johson said emphatically that the U.K. is “on her side” and committed to supporting human rights in her country.
Mr. Johnson told Ms. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya that Britain is “very much in support of what you are doing” during their meeting at Downing Street, and condemned Belarussia's dictator Mr. Alexander Lukashenko’s “severe human rights violations and persecution of pro-democracy figures, his office said.
Later Ms. Tsikhanouskaya stated, "I absolutely believe in a non-violent transition of power. What is going on in Belarus is our pain – we want this hell finished as soon as possible in our country.”
When we put enough pressure on the regime there will be no other way out, Ms. Tsikhanouskaya said in an interview. I really believe Belarus can be a success story of a peaceful transition of power, she emphasised.
Belorussian opposition leader: I won Presidential elections
Ms. Tsikhanouskaya says she won an Aug. 9 presidential election but Mr. Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, said he won. She fled to Lithuania after a crackdown on protesters that followed the contested election.
Mr. Lukashenko, who in 2012 told in interview he was “the last dictator in Europe”, sought support from Russian leader Mr. Vladimir Putin during the protests which he cast as an attempt by the West to stoke a revolution.
He has dismissed Ms. Tsikhanouskaya, who took part in the election after her husband Sergei was jailed and barred from standing, as a “housewife”.
Yes — the Kremlin supports Lukashenko but about 25 countries are supporting us, Ms. Tsikhanouskaya said when asked if a peaceful transition was possible without a change in the Kremlin.
Deeply shocked by the death of a Belorussian activist in Ukraine
Ms. Tsikhanouskaya said she was deeply shocked by the death of a Belarusian activist found hanged in Ukraine on Tuesday, though she declined to speculate on who might be responsible for the death.
Mr. Vitaly Shishov, who was living in exile in Ukraine, was found hanged in a park near his home in Kyiv early on Tuesday, and Ukrainian police said they had launched a murder case.