Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s representative office opens in Ukraine
A representative branch of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Office has been opened in Kyiv. This local representation body will work on a permanent basis and focus on establishing ties with the Ukrainian authorities and protecting the interests of Belarusian citizens in Ukraine. A delegation of Belarusian democratic forces had earlier visited Kyiv, held a number of meetings, and delivered humanitarian and military aid for Belarusian volunteers defending the country.
Valery Kavaleuski, the head of Tsikhanouskaya’s Office, said that the main objective of the Office’s headquarters in Kyiv was to establish a permanent dialogue, spread information about the ongoing repressions and general situation in Belarus, and emphasize that Lukashenko is not Belarus and Belarusian people are not behind his participation in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The diplomat noted that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s representative office is currently the only official establishment of Belarus in Ukraine. Lukashenko’s embassy employees left Kyiv immediately after the start of the war, and the return of these diplomats will be problematic. “They will not be welcome here,” says Kavaleuski.
The representative office needs to support Belarusian citizens who stayed in or want to return to Ukraine. According to various sources, the number of Belarusians in Ukraine before the war was around 50,000. Many of them chose to stay in the country and are engaged in volunteer work or fight on the side of Ukraine.