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Exiled opposition leader pressing Trudeau to sanction Belarusian military, security officials over Ukraine war

The exiled opposition leader of Belarus will meet individually with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly over the subsequent two days within the hopes of persuading them to impose additional sanctions on navy and security providers in her nation.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya — who was broadly thought-about to have gained the 2020 presidential election in Belarus — stated she’s additionally in search of non-lethal navy assist for up to 500 Belarusians who’re preventing as volunteers for Ukraine.

It’s her first official go to to Canada.

Tsikhanouskaya has met already with Defence Minister Anita Anand. The two had a dialogue in the course of the Halifax International Security Forum final weekend.

“We don’t need the world to overlook the participation of Lukashenko on this war,” Tsikhanouskaya advised CBC News, referring to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko managed to retain energy after the disputed election, despite the fact that the worldwide neighborhood believes there was widespread voter fraud. Mass demonstrations in Belarus towards Lukashenko retaining energy have been put down violently by the security providers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, proper, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attend conferences in St. Petersburg, Russia on Dec. 20, 2019. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo by way of AP)

Lukashenko has been a stalwart ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the previous Soviet republic relies upon closely on Moscow, each politically and economically.

“I’ll ask Canada to contemplate imposing particular person sanctions towards state propagandistic navy officials, staff of KGB secret providers and pro-regime companies,” Tsikhanouskaya stated.

“I can not perceive why many of those individuals who gas repressions and Putin’s war machine … are nonetheless in a position to journey in Europe.”

There are many preparations between Russia and Belarus governing navy cooperation, in accordance to defence consultants. They embrace Russia’s use of the nation as a springboard for the invasion of northern Ukraine, its use of a Belarusian radar facility and an air base, and a joint regional air defence system established in 2009.

Published reviews earlier this month confirmed new satellite tv for pc imagery that prompt hundreds of Russian troops might have returned to Belarus. That has raised questions in regards to the prospect of one other thrust into Ukraine from the north — or an try by Moscow and Minsk to distract Kyiv.

In this photograph taken from video launched by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, Russian troops attend fight coaching at a Belarusian navy firing vary. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service by way of Associated Press)

In October, Lukashenko ordered his personal troops to deploy with Russian forces close to Ukraine, claiming there was a transparent menace to Belarus from Kyiv and its backers within the West.

Tsikhanouskaya stated it is doubtless a distraction.

“If such an [invasion] order is made, we name on Belaruians to disobey, to refuse to fulfil the orders,” she stated. “We additionally referred to as on Belarusians, name in your sons to be a part of the anti-war motion.”

Russia’s war on Ukraine is deeply unpopular amongst Belarusians, she stated. A ballot performed by the Belarusian opposition, utilizing donated Canadian authorities assist, exhibits that 86 per cent of individuals within the nation don’t assist the war.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, proper, takes half in a protest towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine in entrance of the Russian embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania on March 4, 2022. (Mindaugas Kulbis/Associated Press)

Brian Whitmore, a nonresident senior fellow on the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, agreed that Putin’s invasion is unpopular in Belarus and has galvanized the general public.

“It has additionally sparked resistance amongst Belarusians, together with sabotage of rail traces to stop Russian troops from getting to the entrance and a hacking marketing campaign by a gaggle calling itself the Cyber Partisans,” Whitmore wrote in a current opinion article in Foreign Policy Magazine.

Belarusian volunteers even have joined a Ukraine paramilitary group referred to as the Kastus Kalinouski Battalion, named for the leader of a Nineteenth-century Belarusian rebellion towards the Russian Empire.

“We are on the lookout for help to our navy volunteers who’re preventing shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians. Winter is coming and folks want heat garments … non-lethal gear, medical assist. And it could be good to ship such humanitarian assist to [a] Belarusian battalion in Ukraine,” stated Tsikhanouskaya.

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