Belorussian Sportswoman Receives Humanitarian Visa From Poland
A Belarusian athlete a day after being saved from the regime forced deportation to home country has been granted a humanitarian visa by the Warsaw government.
Sprinter Ms Krystsina Tsimanouskaya plans to leave for Poland on Wednesday, a Polish deputy foreign minister, Mr. Marcin Przydacz, informed. She is “safe and in good condition” after walking into the embassy on Monday morning, he said.
Another deputy foreign minister, Mr. Pawel Jablonski, said: “I can confirm that we have issued a humanitarian visa. I can confirm that we will provide all necessary support in Poland if she wishes to use it.”
Ms. Tsimanouskaya, 24, had been due to compete in the women’s 200 metre heats on Monday but said that on Sunday she was taken to the airport to board a Turkish Airlines flight.
She refused, telling: “I will not return to Belarus.”
The European Union welcomed Poland’s decision and said the repatriation attempt was further evidence of “brutal repression” by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
We express our full solidarity to Krystsina Tsimanouskaya and commend the (EU) member states that offered her support, EU spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said.
The incident has focussed attention on Belarus, where police have cracked down on dissent following a wave of protests triggered by an election last year which the opposition says was rigged to keep Mr. Lukashenko in power.
The athlete arrived at the Polish embassy in an unmarked silver van about 5 p.m. local time. She stepped out with her official team luggage, and greeted two officials before going inside.
Two women, one carrying the red and white flag seen as the symbol of opposition in Belarus, came to the gates to support her.
Her husband, Arseni Zhdanevich, will join her in Poland, a Warsaw-based Belarusian opposition politician said.
Thanks to the support of the Belarusian Athletes’ Solidarity Foundation, Ms. Tsimanouskaya’s husband is in Kyiv and he will join Krystsina, Mr. Pavel Latushko stated.
Mr. Zhdanevich had already entered Ukraine, a Ukrainian interior ministry source said.
A Belarusian opposition politician said Belarus officials had told Ms. Tsimanouskaya’s mother that her daughter was a spy for Western governments.
A sportswoman criticised the bureacrats
Ms. Tsimanouskaya stated via Telegram that the Belarusian head coach had turned up at her room on Sunday at the athletes’ village and told her she had to leave.
The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me, she wrote in the message. At 5 pm they came my room and told me to pack and they took me to the airport.
But she refused to board and sought the protection of Japanese police.
Ms. Tsimanouskaya said she had been removed from the team as she had spoken out about what she described as the negligence of their coaches.