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Report: Belarus protest leader Kalesnikava taken by unidentified men

Belarusian protest leader Maria Kalesnikava had been pulled from a street in central Minsk by unidentified men in masks and taken into a van, independent news outlet Tut.by reports, citing a source.

Belarusian protest leader Maria Kalesnikava had been pulled from a street in central Minsk by unidentified men in masks and taken into a van, independent news outlet Tut.by reports, citing a source.

No contact with Kalesnikava has been reported since the alleged incident on Monday morning. The source said she did not film the incident with her smartphone because she was afraid of also being detained.

Kalesnikava, 38, is a major ally of opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and has led protests after the latter fled to neighbouring EU state Lithuania. Kalesnikava is a member of Tikhanovskaya’s coordination council seeking to negotiate for a peaceful transition of power in Belarus.

Lithuania’s top diplomat, Linas Linkevicius, said Kalesnikava had been abducted, and he called for her immediate release. “The kidnapping of M Kalesnikava in downtown … Minsk is a disgrace,” Linkevicius said in a statement on Twitter.

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