September 22, 2021

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Belarussian Olympic athlete seeks refuge in Poland, opposition activist found hanged | DW News

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The body of a Belarusian activist was discovered in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv a day after he was reported missing, police there said on Tuesday. 26-year-old Vitaly Shishov was the head of the Kyiv-based Belarusian House in Ukraine (BDU), an organization that helps Belarusians trying to flee persecution. The organization helps them find accommodation, employment, and legal services. Ukraine, like Poland and Lithuania, has become a haven for Belarusians following a crackdown on dissent in their home country by President Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus has been rocked by mass protests against the longtime leader since disputed elections last year. Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya reacted to Shishov’s death, tweeting that "it is worrying that those who flee Belarus still can’t be safe."

A Belarusian Olympic sprinter who feared for her safety back home after she openly criticized her coaches left Tokyo on a Vienna-bound flight on Wednesday. Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, had requested a humanitarian visa at the Polish embassy in the Japanese capital on Monday. Pictures showed her leaving the embassy and arriving at the city’s Narita airport masked and wearing blue jeans and sunglasses. Tsimanouskaya had been expected to fly out directly to Warsaw, but she switched at the last moment for the Austrian capital. It is as yet unclear whether Austria will be her final destination.

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