Prime minister Boris Johnson met with the leader of the Belarusian opposition party today as tension between the country, its people and the rest of Europe swells.
Meeting at Downing Street earlier today, Johnson condemned current leader Alexander Lukashenko’s regime and persecution of opposition voices like Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and her husband.
Tikhanovskaya ran as the main opposition figure to Lukashenko in the disputed 2020 presidential election, after which she sought asylum in neighbouring Lithuania.
The prime minister also spoke out against Lukashenko’s “severe human rights violations”, Downing Street said in a statement.
Johnson and Tikhanovskaya agreed that Brits and Belarusian’s “share fundamental values such as a belief in democracy, human rights and rule of law.”
The prime minister added that the UK “stands in solidarity” with the people of Belarus and will continue to take action to support them.
It comes as Belarus’ Olympic sprinter refused her team’s orders to board a homebound flight from Tokyo after an alleged kidnap by officials from her own team.
The athlete, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, has since been granted a humanitarian visa by the Polish government.
In a bid to combat Lukashenko’s regime, the UK has placed sanctions on the leader.
The UK has also tripled its financial support of the Belarusian civil society this year.