Protests are under way in Belarus / REUTERS

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has called on Ukrainian citizens not to travel to Belarus because of the difficult social and political situation there.

"Since the situation in Belarus remains tense, the Foreign Ministry yesterday issued a travel alert for citizens who are in Belarus now, asking them to exercise increased caution, avoid crowded places, not to take part in rallies and protests, follow the news and recommendations of local authorities," Kuleba said at a briefing in Kyiv on August 13.

Read alsoTwo detained human rights activists from Ukraine facing criminal charges in Belarus

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According to him, earlier Ukrainians had also been advised to be cautious in Belarus, but now they are urged not to travel there.

"Over the situation around Kostiantyn Reutski, Yevhen Vasylyev and Oksana Alioshyna [the citizens of Ukraine detained in Belarus], the Foreign Ministry is issuing new recommendations to citizens of Ukraine today, asking them to refrain from traveling to the Republic of Belarus until the situation in that country stabilizes and subsequent announcements follow," he said.

Kuleba also asked to heed the ministry's recommendations, explaining that this would help avoid "very difficult situations."

Protests in Belarus: What is happening?

  • On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus.
  • That country's Central Election Commission announced preliminary election results. In particular, 80.23% of voters supported incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, 9.9% voted for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 1.68% for Anna Kanopatskaya, 1.13% for Sergei Cherechnya, and 1.04% for Andrey Dmitriev. Some 6.02% voted against all candidates.
  • On the evening of August 9, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to take part in spontaneous rallies, which followed by clashes with law enforcement agencies. The police in Minsk fired water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets in a crackdown on protests.
  • Belarus' Ministry of Internal Affairs announced about 3,000 protesters were detained on the night of August 10, more than 2,000 people on the night of August 11, and more than 1,000 on the third night of the protests in different towns and cities across the country.