Polish asylum offer for Belarusian sprinter highlights hostility to Lukashenko’s regime

Warsaw has become a strong supporter of Lukashenko’s opposition, fearing that past leniency has only facilitated his regime’s growing brutality, writes William Nattrass

Monday 02 August 2021 17:07
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<p>Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s case has quickly turned into a regional row between Poland and Belarus </p>

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s case has quickly turned into a regional row between Poland and Belarus

Poland is offering asylum to Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya after the athlete claimed team officials tried to force her to return to Belarus.

Images and video circulated on social media appeared to show Tsimanouskaya refusing to board a plane at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Sunday after criticising national coaches for the Belarus team’s preparations for games.

Later, the sprinter presented herself at the embassy of Poland in Tokyo, where she has been granted a humanitarian visa, according to Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz. Both Poland and the Czech Republic offered her asylum in response to treatment which the Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek described as “scandalous.”

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