Kolesnikova’s Abduction: Tikhanovskaya, Coordination Council, EU React

Ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Coordination Council, EU Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell Fontelles and Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius reacted to the abduction of Maria Kolesnikova, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov.

“The authorities are engaged in terror, there is no other word for it. The abductions of Maria Kolesnikova, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov are an attempt to disrupt the work of the Coordination Council and intimidate its members.

The authorities are wrong when they think it will stop us. The more they intimidate, the more people will take to the streers. We will continue to fight, we will seek the release of all prisoners and the holding of new, fair election,” said Tikhanovskaya.

Meanwhile, the Coordination Council demanded the immediate release of Maria Kolesnikova, Lilia Vlasova, Anton Rodnenkov, Ivan Kravtsov, as well as confirmation of the possibility of the free return of Olga Kovalkova, Pavel Latushko and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to the country.

“In the center of Minsk, unknown people abducted a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council Maria Kolesnikova, press secretary Anton Rodnenkov, executive secretary Ivan Kravtsov. Their whereabouts are unknown. At the same time, the bodies designed to protect law and order have not yet provided information about the whereabouts of our colleagues and deny their involvement,” the statement says.

The Coordination Council reminds that on Saturday, Olga Kovalkova was forcibly taken out of the country. Earlier, charges were brought against the members of the Presidium of the Coordination Council Lilia Vlasova and Sergei Dylevsky. Both are currently under administrative arrest.

“It is obvious that such methods are illegal and cannot lead to any other result, but an aggravation of the situation in the country, a deepening of the crisis and a further increase in protests. We see that in recent days the authorities, instead of trying to have a dialogue with society, have begun to openly use terror methods.

The Coordination Council notes that all actions committed by persons acting in official status, involving the use of violence and aimed at suppressing the political and public activity of citizens are crimes against humanity and can be investigated without limitation of statutes of limitations,” the statement reads.

Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius described the recent detentions of the representatives of the Coordination Council as “Stalinist NKVD methods applied in 21st century’s Europe”. EU Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell Fontelles also condemned “arbitrary arrests and kidnappings on political grounds”.

Recall that on the morning of 7 September, unidentified men put a member of the Coordination Council on Power Transition in Belarus Maria Kolesnikova in a minibus and drove away in an unknown direction. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has no information about the detentions of the members of the Coordination Council, including Kolesnikova. Neither the State Control Committee nor the Investigative Committee are aware of the detentions.