Christopher Miller+ Your Authors @ChristopherJM Correspondent covering Ukraine & beyond for @BuzzFeedNews. Also seen in @RFERL @POLITICOEurope @ViceNews @Guardian. Send tips to [email protected] Aug. 21, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is giving her first press conference since fleeing to Lithuania after challenging Lukashenko in widely disputed presidential elections.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSCxO5MTW24 

Asked if she'll return and is willing to risk arrest, Tikhanovskaya says she loves her country and wants to return to Belarus but will only do so when she feels it's safe.

Tikhanovskaya: "As I have already said a couple of times, I call for all countries to respect the sovereignty of our country and respect the choice of our people. And as for threats [against me and my family], you know, I don't think I would like to discuss this question now."

"I think that every person in our country feels fear and is scared now, but it is our mission to step over all our fears and move further."

Asked about the two videos she made on the night she fled Belarus — including one that is believed to have been made under duress in the election office — Tikhanovskaya says, "At this moment I'm not prepared to answer this question."

Press conference over. 15 minutes in all. She kept her answers short and declined to answer several more sensitive ones. She gave no specifics on the future of the opposition movement but thanks countries for their support of Belarusian people demanding change.


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