Belarus opposition leader detained

Belarus opposition leader detained
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A prominent opposition leader in Belarus was reportedly detained by authorities Tuesday after she allegedly ripped up her passport as Belarus officials attempted to expel her from the country. 

A border official said the opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova was detained by authorities, Reuters reported.

Kolesnikova was a key figure in the weeks of mass protests that have followed after the reelection of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. She had been missing for the past 24 hours after supporters said she was snatched off of the street on Monday by masked men in Minsk, Reuters reports.

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The Interfax Ukraine news agency said Kolesnikova deliberately ripped up her passport so Ukrainian border officials would not be able to let her through, according to Reuters. 

Deputy Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko also said on Facebook that Kolesnikova prevented a “forcible expulsion from her native country,” Reuters reports. 

“Maria Kolesnikova was not able to be deported from Belarus as this brave woman took steps to prevent herself from being moved across the border. She remained on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko is personally responsible for her life and health,” Gerashchenko said, according to the newswire. 

A Ukrainian border official told Reuters Kolesnikova was detained but did not confirm her location. The official told the newswire two other opposition figures who had gone missing around the same time as Kolesnikova, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, did enter Ukraine early Tuesday. 

“Kolesnikova has now been detained, I can’t say concretely where she is, but she has been detained,” Anton Bychkovsky, a representative of the Belarusian border service, told Reuters.

“She was detained in connection with the circumstances under which they (the group) left the territory of Belarus,” he said.