One of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition, former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya says she is ready to provide incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko with security guarantees if he peacefully hands over power.
"This is all being discussed. Of course, if he leaves peacefully, humanely, there is such a possibility, even confidence," she said in an interview with LB.ua, a Ukrainian online outlet.
Lukashenko would "get even more than that." At the same time, the opposition figure said the opinion of all citizens would be taken into account on the issue.
"You understand why we are doing this. We are pleased to see the action of solidarity in the Verkhovna Rada. We were all surprised," Tikhanovskaya said, referring to Ukrainian Parliament' move to not recognize the election outcome. "And the fact that you suspended all relations with the Belarusian side also shows that you accept the choice of the Belarusians, the choice of the majority... Therefore, what you are doing is very valuable."
Belarus protests: background
- On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus. The country's Central Election Commission announced the final election results. In particular, 80.1% of voters supported incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, 10.1% voted for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 1.67% for Anna Kanopatskaya, 1.2% for Andrey Dmitriev, and 1.14% for Sergei Cherechnya. Some 4.59% voted against all candidates.
- Thousands took to the streets to protest what many believe was a rigged vote count. Riot police violently cracked down on protesters.
- Belarus' Ministry of Internal Affairs said about 7,000 protesters had been detained in different cities since August 9. On the evening of August 13, the authorities started to release detainees.
- On August 14, the European Union announced it did not recognize the outcome of the presidential elections in Belarus.
- The March of Freedom, the largest protest in the history of Belarus, took place on August 16 in Minsk. Hundreds of thousands of people joined in.
- On August 20, the Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal probe into the attempt by the opposition to "seize power."
- Lukashenko has repeatedly claimed "foreign interference" in the election and the external efforts to foment protests. He spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin who had promised him comprehensive assistance upon request.
- Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin has warned of the possible use of army to disperse protesters rallying under the flags he claims were once used by Nazi troops.
- On September 6, the March of Unity was held in the cities of Belarus. According to various sources, a total of nearly 100,000 protesters took part in the rally.
- The European Union has not recognized election outcome in Belarus. EU leaders reached an agreement to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials in response to vote rigging and the use of violence against protesters.
- On September 13, the law enforcers again detained protesters amid mass rallies across Belarus. The police used force even against women.
- On September 15, Ukraine's parliament passed a statement on Belarus, having called Belarus elections out as "unfair" and backed the EU sanctions on Minsk.