The kidnapping of Maria Kolesnikova by the authorities of Belarus comes as a violation of international laws and serves as a dangerous precedent, Belarusian political scientist and economist Yaroslav Romanchuk believes.
Maria Kolesnikova, one of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition, disappeared on Monday, September 7.
She was detained while trying to cross the border with Ukraine. Her colleagues in the Coordination Committee - Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov - left Belarus and are currently staying in Ukraine.
According to representative of the State Border Committee of Belarus, Anton Bychkovsky, there is no threat to the health of Maria Kolesnikova. Bychkovsky noted that the trio tried to cross the Belarusian-Ukrainian border illegally, but only two of them managed to leave the republic.
"Indeed, they went through customs clearance at the border with Ukraine this morning at 4:10 am. They went through customs clearance in the prescribed manner and headed towards Ukraine. We have certain peculiarities related to the passage of the border. There is a settlement between the checkpoint and the state border, the distance is six kilometrers, and in this regard we have reinforcement squads to control the state of affairs. Having noticed this border patrol, the vehicle, in which the three people were traveling, increased its speed sharply and posed a threat to the life of a serviceman. At one moment Kolesnikova left the vehicle. Most likely, she was pushed out of it. Rodnenkov and Kravtsov crossed the line of the state border and entered the territory of Ukraine, while Kolesnikova was detained. An investigation is underway," Bychkovsky said.
The State Border Service of Ukraine reported that Rodnenkov and Kravtsov were undergoing procedures to enter the country.
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko claims that this was not an escape - the opposition activists were forcibly expelled from Belarus.
"It was not a voluntary departure. It was a forcible expulsion from the native country. Maria Kolesnikova could not be expelled from Belarus because this brave woman took action to prevent her departure, and she remained on the territory of the Republic of Belarus," Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook.
Yaroslav Romanchuk, a member of the Council for the Development of Entrepreneurship in the administration of the President of Belarus, told Pravda.Ru that international law does not work in Belarus today. Therefore, this kind of abduction and violation of human rights is possible.
"Alexander Lukashenko and his government are creating very dangerous precedents when criminal groups can commit such actions under the guise of official uniforms, police - anyhing," Yaroslav Romanchuk said. According to the economist, this could be "the beginning of the end of stability in Belarus."
Maria Kolesnikova was abducted in Minsk on September 7. It was reported that unidentified individuals put her in a minibus with the sign "Communication" on it and took her away in an unknown direction.