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Belarus is trying to provoke neighbours, says exiled opposition leader

Belarusian exiled opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
Belarusian exiled opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya Copyright Gregorio Borgia/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Gregorio Borgia/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with EBU
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Warsaw has beefed-up security along the Poland-Belarus border after it reported Belarusian combat helicopter units and Wagner mercenaries relocating closer towards Polish territory.

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Belarus' exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has accused President Alexander Lukashenko of trying to provoke the country's neighbours amid escalating tensions along its eastern borders.

“Unfortunately, the past three years have taught us to always prepare for the worst. We are used to the fact that the strongest desire is not enough to change a rotten system,” Tsikhanouskaya said as she addressed exiled opposition figures at the 'New Belarus 2023' conference in Warsaw.

“We are used to the fact that due to the regime’s policy, our peaceful Belarus is today called an aggressor country - and put on the same level as Russia.”

Warsaw has beefed-up security along the Poland-Belarus border after it reported Belarusian combat helicopter units were relocated closer towards Polish territory.

Poland also claimed Russian Wagner mercenaries in Belarus were being stationed nearer to the border, stoking fears of possible provocations and infiltrations. 

'New Belarus 2023' was organised by the Belarusian United Transition Cabinet, the Tsikhanouskaya Office and the Coordination Council of Belarus.

The event aimed to develop actions and define the vision of the future for Belarus. 

"We will be discussing during this conference about what should the new Belarus be like and how to do it, what kind of reforms should be done and how to account for those who are guilty of crimes," Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Saturday.

"We will be speaking about how the relations with the neighbours should be and how to restore Belarus on the map of Europe," she added.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a former English teacher, was the main challenger in the August 2020 presidential election that extended President Alexander Lukashenko’s rule and was rejected by the Belarusian opposition and the West as a sham.

In May, a Belarusian court sentenced her to 15 years in prison, charged with 12 crimes, including "conspiracy to take power unconstitutionally."

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