Belarusian security agency, which has retained its Soviet name KGB, allegedly attempted to throw one of the Belarusian opposition leaders, Maria Kolesnikova, out of the country before she tore her passport at the border, thus thwarting the plot.
That's according to Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, both members of the opposition's Coordination Council who spoke at a press conference in Kyiv on September 8, an UNIAN correspondent reports.
The men claim they have left Belarus in the early hours of Tuesday, and that security operatives were trying to have Kolesnikova be taken out in their car's passenger seat.
Kolesnikova's disappearance: possible sequence of events, per Rodnenkov and Kravtsov
Both men say they were detained as soon as they left Kolesnikova's apartment where they arrived on September 7 to check the premises after the reports had emerged of Kolesnikova's abduction.
For the whole day on September 7, the men were being transported to various law enforcement offices before they ended up being taken to the Department for Financial Investigations of the State Control Committee.
Ivan Kravtsov says he was shown a document allegedly stating he had committed wrongdoings in his previous job.
Persons, who he cannot identify, inquired whether it was possible that they drive Kolesnikova out of Belarus.
"They explained this with the need for de-escalation. One of the options was to cross out in a personal car. Our position was this: we should be in proximity to what's happening in Belarus," he explained, suggesting that Kolesnikova would never agree to flee country.
Read alsoTikhanovskaya: Crimea de jure part of Ukraine, but de facto part of Russia – mediaAt the end of the conversation, Kravtsov said it was evident security operatives would still bring Kolesnikova to the border.
What happened at the border
At about 23:00, both men were put into vans.
"We were taken to the KGB. Therefore, I have reason to believe that Kolesnikova was there on September 7. And we were driven toward the Ukrainian border at the Aleksandrovka checkpoint," said Kravtsov.
The men were being threatened with a criminal case.
According to Anton Rodnenkov, men wearing face masks offered them what they claimed was "the best solution."
"... that we ride toward the Ukraine border in a van, and then we take Ivan's car. And that Kolesnikova join us," the interrogator clarified, noting that the details had already been discussed with the security services.
The car was brought to the border with a massive escort, the men say.
Maria Kolesnikova was reportedly brought to their car already in the border's neutral zone. At that moment, the security operatives handed the men their passports. Ivan Kravtsov, who was put behind the wheel, was ordered to drive off immediately.
"She [Kolesnikova] was forcibly pushed into our back seat. She yelled that she would not go anywhere. She tore her passport and threw it out the window. After that, she opened the back window and climbed out, and then walked off toward the Belarusian side," said Kravtsov.
Read alsoBelarusian protest leader detained by unidentified people – mediaAfter Kolesnikova's defiant move, the men from the convoy started surrounding the car.
"There was a pause after the passport incident. They tried to apprehend us again. And at some point, people we already knew [from the interrogation] came up to us. A blue van drove out of the forest line, and I pressed on gas. And we got out of the circle. They started chasing us, "answered Kravtsov.
Belarus' official statement
According to the official report by the Belarusian border guards, Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov crossed out of Belarus on the morning of September 8. Border guards claim the men broke through the border, leaving their colleague Maria Kolesnikova behind, TUT.by reported.
No factual evidence was provided to back the statement.