Family reports Belarusian opposition leader Kolesnikova missing

The family of the disappeared Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova has reported missing. According to a witness, the politician was reported this morning in the center of Minsk by a group of masked persons pushed into a van and kidnapped.

Since then nothing has been heard from her. Friends and family were no longer able to contact Kolesnikova. The police claims to know nothing and says according to news site Tut.by to investigate the matter.

Two other members of the Coordination Council set up by the opposition also appear to be missing. Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov have not been heard from since this morning. Other members have previously been arrested or deported.

The remaining members of the Coordination Council register a statement that President Lukashenko’s regime is guilty of terrorism to quell protests in the country. They write that it makes no sense because protesters “no longer know fear” and continue to organize “decentralized and without leaders”.

Europe concerned

Kolesnikova is one of three women who, along with Svetlana Tichanovskaja and Veronika Tsepkalo, have become the face of the opposition to President Lukashenko in recent months. She is the only one remaining in Belarus: Tichanovskaya moved to Lithuania under unclear circumstances, Tsepkalo fled to Moscow and later Warsaw.

There has been concern from Europe about the disappearance of Kolesnikova. The German Foreign Minister Maas has Belarus asked for clarification. His British colleague Raab also has his concerns.

The protest against Lukashenko’s disputed election victory has been going on for a month. Yesterday an estimated 100,000 Belarusians went into Minsk into the street, with 633 protesters arrested, according to police. Also today, Belarusians have protested at various locations.

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