“We must act – the window of opportunity is open.”

Belarus Free Theatre’s Nicolai Khalezin attends the Emergency meeting of the Democratic Forces of Belarus.

“We, the office of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Co-ordination Council, the People’s Anti-Crisis Directorate, the Tsepkalo HeadQuarters, Bypol and other democratic forces are united in our assessment that as a result of the thoughtless actions of the illegitimate regime, Belarus has turned into the “black spot” on the world map.”

These are the words from opposition leader Tikhanovskaya and others on a youtube video released subsequent to the meeting of the Democratic Leaders in Lithuania which took place on 25th May consequent to the state-hijacking of Ryanair Flight FR4978 in Belarusian airspace and the unlawful arrest of  opposition blogger Roman Protasevich, who was living in exile, and his partner Sofia Sapega and Luksahenko’s other acts of terror taking place against Belarusian citizens and others particularly since June 2020. The meeting was attended by opposition leader Tikhanovskaya’s office, the Co-ordination Council, NAU, Tsepkalo HQ, ByPol, Belarus Free Theatre (Nicolai Khalezin) and other democratic forces to discuss and map out a response to Belarus’ deepening crisis and the recent unprecedented situation brought about by Lukashenko’s actions.

Participants discussed:

  • Increased international pressure and concrete measures in response to Lukashenko’s actions.

  • Contact with officials in Belarus and the expansion of this contact.

  • Building up the structure of the partisan movement inside Belarus.

  • A project on amnesty and the rehabilitation of protestors.

The video thanks the global community for its solidarity and calls for more “active, comprehensive and effective action” to reduce the level of diplomatic interaction and for sanctions to target Lukashenko’s reserve fund in particular. It also acknowledges that the “European Union, USA, Great Britain, Japan, Canada and other countries are already acting and are doing everything possible” to help the Belarusian people, referring to the UK’s Magnitsky Sanctions imposed on the regime and its actors, a move to be copied by the US Biden administration and the EU ban on Belarusian airlines, which comes on top other punitive progressively restrictive targeted EU sanctions.

Nicolai Khalezin said the international community must “blow up all possible economic ties with the regime and state-owned companies until democracy is victorious” in the country  (Belarus still siphons corrupt money through London’s financial centre)  and that there must be a high-level international conference to resolve the internal political crisis in Belarus in response to Lukashenko’s refusal to engage in a dialogue with civil society.

The video ends with a message of determination, resolve hope and even warning for Belarusians and Lukashenko: “We must be ready to act, the window of opportunity is open” and, most importantly, “ We are making preparations for a new phase of active pressure.”

Citizens are invited to await further announcements on this matter.