Media: West May Cancel European Games In Minsk Due To Journalists’ Detentions

As mass detentions of journalists’ continue in Belarus, the Western countries may consider cancelling the European Games in Minsk 2019, Nasha Niva reports.

The situation unfolds amid warming relations with the West.

No games for Belarus?

According to Nasha Niva diplomatic sources, Europe reacted with frustration and dissapointment with once again unfulfilled expectations.

At the moment, the Western politicians coordinate their views on the situation and actions of the Belarusian authorities.

Among other things, they may also consider to deprive Belarus of the right to host the European Games in 2019.

Read also: Visa-free entry for European Games fans from 10 June till 10 July 2019

Sources stress that the Europeans don’t favour that option, but will have to reflect on it as a possible scenario if repressions continue.

So far, the information about potential cancelation of the European Games in Minsk was confirmed only by Nasha Niva sources.

Minsk got the right to host the second European Games in 2016. Russia was ruled out following the massive state-backed doping scandal.

The desire to host the Games were also expressed by Poland, Great Britain and Turkey.

Read also: Tickets for 2nd European Games Minsk on sale from 1 December

The second edition of the continent’s multi-sports event is planned to take place in Minsk on 21-30 June next year.

More than 4000 athletes from 50 countries coaches and representatives of European national Olympic committees are expected.

What happened?

An unprecendented wave of police raids and journalists’ detentions swept Belarus this week.

At the momemnt, at least eight journalists of various independent-media organisations remain in detention.

They are accused of alleged illegal acess to the state-run news agency BelTA paid subscription.

International organizations, human rights activists, local authorities and foreign media expressed their concern and condemned journalists detentions.

Read also: 15 very sad facts about life in Belarus you had no idea about

The EU called on Minsk to free journalists, stressing that such actions are in contradiction with Belarus’ international commitments.

The American, British, Swedish and Lithuanian diplomats visited TUT.BY to talk to its founder Yury Zisser, and express their support.

The EU delegation in Minsk promised to keep a close eye on the situation and showed their readiness to provide any help neccessary.