LONDON, August 3. /TASS/. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had a meeting with leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in London. The PA agency reported on Tuesday that Johnson voiced support for "human rights and civil society" in Belarus during the meeting at 10 Downing Street.
"[We are] very much on your side," the British prime minister told Tikhanovskaya. "We strongly support you, strongly support Belarus, the Belarusian people, and I think we were among the first to put in sanctions after the hijacking of [blogger] Roman Protasevich, the flight that was diverted," he added, referring to the Ryanair flight en route from Athens to Vilnius that was made an emergency landing at Minsk Airport on May 23 after a bomb threat. A MiG-29 fighter was scrambled to escort the plane. No explosives were found aboard the plane after it landed. Later, the Belarusian authorities clarified that one of the founders of the NEXTA Telegram channel, recognized as extremist in Belarus, Roman Protasevich was among the passengers. He was detained, while the plane carried on towards its destination later that day.
In turn, Tikhanovskaya described the meeting as being conducted in a warm atmosphere, noting that it’s vital to know that the UK supports Belarus. She also said that she and the UK prime minister shared joint democratic values.
Last week, Tikhanovskaya was received by US President Joe Biden in the White House. She also had meetings with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and Counselor of the U.S. Department of State Derek Chollet, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also attended a part of the meeting. Moreover, the Belarusian opposition leader also met with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Presidential elections were held in Belarus on August 9. Incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus. Tikhanovskaya’s supporters set up a Coordination Council that set a task of power transition by means of new elections. The Council’s activities were recognized as illegal in Belarus.