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After Olympic defection, US sanctions, Belarusian revolt chief says: ‘The boat is sinking’

As the USA imposes new sanctions on Belarus — and its authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko — the nation’s exiled opposition chief says she is prepared for a revolution.

“This second can occur at any second,” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya instructed Fox Information. “The Soviet Union collapsed in six days. No person is aware of what may be the set off.”

Talking from Lithuania, the place she resides in self-imposed exile after operating for president final yr, Tsikhanouskaya pointed to the latest defection of a Belarusian Olympian as proof of a broad crackdown on dissent.

BELARUS SPRINTER FEELS SAFE, LOOKS TO FUTURE IN POLAND

Sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya fled to Poland after publicly falling out with Belarusian crew managers through the Video games in Tokyo. She mentioned she was warned she confronted an unspecified punishment at residence.

“The scenario with Krystsina reveals that no person is protected,” Tsikhanouskaya mentioned. “Even if you’re not in politics — when you have by no means been in demonstrations or [the] opposition motion — you’re below assault as effectively. If you happen to dare to say a phrase towards this regime, you for positive will likely be imprisoned.”

BELARUS SPRINTER SAYS PUNISHMENT AWAITED HER BACK HOME

The U.S., Britain and Canada introduced coordinated sanctions towards Belarus on Monday, marking one yr because the nation’s presidential election and a violent crackdown on ensuing road protests. Alexander Lukashenko was returned for a sixth time period, however the U.S. known as the election “fraudulent”.

President Biden mentioned the penalties had been punishment for “a brutal marketing campaign of repression to stifle dissent” and accused Lukashenko of “an illegitimate effort to carry on to energy at any value.”

Lukashenko, who has led Belarus because it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1994 and is labeled “Europe’s final dictator” by critics, publicly disregarded the sanctions. He mentioned Britain might “choke” on its measures.

However Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya — who met with President Biden on the White Home final month — instructed us her crew has had contacts with businesspeople near Lukashenko who’re impacted by the penalties.

BIDEN PUSHES SANCTIONS AGAINST BELRUS’ LUKASHENKO REGIME

“The sanctions that had been imposed by democratic international locations are very painful for companies which are round him,” she mentioned, including that some businesspeople had been “in search of a approach out of the scenario.”

She additionally insisted dissent isn’t restricted to the overall inhabitants, however extends to members of the ruling elite.

“Lukashenko’s boat is sinking, and so they have to decide on in the event that they wish to sink with him or construct a brand new nation. We wish to present them [an] different.”

Till final yr, Tsikhanouskaya, 38, was a stay-at-home mother. Her kids, aged 11 and 5, are along with her in Lithuania.

She was thrust into the political highlight when her husband, Sergei — a blogger who had joined the presidential race — was jailed.

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In welcoming U.S. help, Tsikhanouskaya echoed President Biden’s latest assertion that Western democracies are in a race to compete with autocratic governments.

“Belarus is on the entrance line of this combat,” she mentioned.

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