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Belarus Central Figure Maria Kolesnikova Detained at Ukraine Border

A famous Belarus opposition leader  Maria Kolesnikova  has been detained at the border with Ukraine the day after her disappearance.

State media report thatwas held at the border early on Tuesday morning.

Kolesnikova was one of the campaign partners of the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claimed victory against the long-ruling president, Alexander Lukashenko, in disputed elections on 9 August. She is the central figure in the Belarus protests.

On Monday, eyewitnesses saw masked men seize Ms Kolesnikova on the street in central Belarus and push her into a minibus.

Kolesnikova was reportedly seized soon after 10am local time while walking close to Minsk’s national art museum. Three other members of the opposition coordination council have also vanished, in what appears to be a targeted attempt by the authorities to wipe out the protest movement.

Early on Tuesday, Belarusian border authorities told the Russian news agency Tass that she had passed through the Alexandrovka border crossing point at 4am. But Belarus state media later said she had been detained at the border – a version of events seemingly confirmed by Ukrainian border officials, who said she had arrived at the frontier but had not crossed into Ukraine.

 Wide protests are ongoing in Belarus against the regime and demanding the resign of Mr Lukashenko. On Sunday more than 100,000 people marched on the president’s residence calling on him to quit. Gangs of pro-government thugs beat up protesters on their way home.

Mr Lukashenko has ruled his country since 1994. He has accused Western powers of interference.But he has been supported by President Vladimir Putin of Russia and is expected to visit Moscow "in the coming days".The EU demanded the release of all political prisoners on Monday and said it was planning to impose sanctions.

The interior ministry said 633 people were detained on Sunday for illegal mass gatherings, one of the largest waves of arrests since the early days of the demonstrations.

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