7 September 2020: Belarusian musician and political activist Maria Kolesnikova has reportedly been detained after she refused to leave the country, reported Latestly.
According to CNN, Kolesnikova was “forcefully taken” in the van to the border with Ukraine together with her colleagues from Belarus Coordinate Council – the group that aims to secure a peaceful transition in power- Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov.
Kravtsov and Rodnenkov then reported that Kolesnikova refused to be sent to Ukraine and she destroyed her passport.
Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko says in his Facebook post that Kolesnikova was forced to leave Belarus but “this brave woman took action to prevent her crossing the border.”
Kravtsov told BBC that “She climbed, climbed from the car, and she walked proudly to Belarusian territory.”
While Kolesnikova started to walk back to the Belarusian border, Kravtsov and Rodnenkov entered Ukraine.
Freemuse’s State of Artistic Freedom 2020 report highlights that 56% of detained artists in 2019 were detained for political reasons. Belarus is in the top ten countries known to have detained artists in 2019.