Exclusive: India shouldn't back ‘gangster’ Lukashenko, says Belarus oppn leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya 

New DelhiWritten By: Palki SharmaUpdated: Oct 18, 2021, 05:35 PM IST

Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Photograph:(Agencies)

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In an exclusive interview to WION, Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has urged India not to support the country's strongman President Alexander Lukashenko, calling him a ‘gangster’. She was speaking to WION Executive Editor Palki Sharma.

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has urged India not to support strongman President Alexander Lukashenko, calling him a ‘gangster’, in an exclusive interview to WION's Executive Editor Palki Sharma.

“It is about democratic values which are important for India as well. You can’t support a gangster. You can't support a criminal. It is the basis of any democracy. India can be vocal about the situation. India can't say that everything is alright in Belarus when thousands are tortured in jails at the moment. India should stop cooperating with the regime,” Tsikhanouskaya told WION from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, where she is living in exile.

She urged India to support rule of law and democratic values in Belarus, adding that she would like to have cordial relations with New Delhi. 

"We ask India to postpone the cooperation until democratic changes and elections happen in our country. I really want India to be honest and support human rights, rule of law and democratic values. I would like to have wonderful relations with India," Tsikhanouskaya said.

Tsikhanouskaya was the opposition candidate in the highly controversial presidential election of 2020, which Lukashenko won much to the chagrin of the international community that rejected the vote.

She entered the fray after her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky was arrested by Belarusian authorities.

Since the election, forces of Lukashenko, who has been president since 1994, have cracked down on months of opposition protests, eventually leading Tsikhanouskaya and her close associates to leave the country.