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Belarus Dissident's Girlfriend Hears Her Fate in Court

Sofia Sapega gets 6 years behind bars for inciting social hatred; Roman Protasevich's trial pending

(Newser) - Update: It's been a year since the plane on which Belarusian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and his Russian girlfriend were flying was forced to land so the pair could be detained by Belarus. Now, the latter has heard her official fate. Sofia Sapega, 24, was sentenced Friday by a...

Belarus Leader Says Ukraine 'Operation' Has 'Dragged On'

We 'are doing everything now so that there isn’t a war,' Lukashenko says

(Newser) - Belarus’ authoritarian leader defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said he was doing “everything” to stop the war, in a sit-down interview with the AP on Thursday. President Alexander Lukashenko also said that he didn’t think Russia’s “operation” in Ukraine would "drag on this...

Russian Players Won't Be Allowed at Wimbledon: Report
Russia Reacts
to Report on
Wimbledon Ban

Russia Reacts to Report on Wimbledon Ban

Russian, Belarusian athletes have officially been barred from participating

(Newser) - This story has been updated throughout with the official announcement of the ban. Tennis players from Russia and Belarus have been banned from playing at Wimbledon in late June—and the Kremlin expressed its displeasure as soon as it heard a ban was in the cards. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov blasted...

People in Belarus Barely Know What It Means to Be Belarusian

A mural in a Minsk park gave them something to fight and die for

(Newser) - "The Battle for the Mural"—a New York Times Magazine piece by Sarah A. Topol—opens with a crime-thriller vibe: a man on a high-stakes mission, calculating every move through blind spots in the 40 security cameras he and his cohorts must dodge to reach the one place...

Alleged Capitol Rioter Granted Asylum in Belarus

Evan Neumann is wanted by the FBI for assaulting police officers on Jan. 6

(Newser) - Update: Evan Neumann has found an indefinite safe haven in Belarus. According to that nation's BelTA state media, the 49-year-old from Mill Valley, Calif., wanted by the FBI on charges of assaulting police officers at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, has been granted asylum by the Russian ally,...

As Belarus' Ambassador Left Ukraine, a Biting Gift

A border guard tossed 30 pieces of silver at Igor Sokol

(Newser) - The indications that Belarus will join Russia in its war against Ukraine may be building. Belarus, which al-Jazeera calls "Russia’s oldest and staunchest post-Soviet ally," has removed all its diplomats from Ukraine in the past few days. As Belarusian Ambassador Igor Sokol passed through a border checkpoint,...

Paralympics Does U-Turn on Russia, Belarus Athletes

They're now banned from Beijing Games

(Newser) - The 2022 Winter Paralympic Games kick off in Beijing Friday—and after an abrupt reversal from the International Paralympic Committee, athletes from Russia and Belarus will not be taking part. In a statement , IPC President Andrew Parsons said an "overwhelming number" of national committees had contacted the organization, with...

US Suspends Operations at Belarus Embassy

Nonessential staff at the Moscow embassy are leaving Russia

(Newser) - The State Department has closed the US embassy in Belarus and is allowing nonessential staff at the US Embassy in Russia to leave the country because of the war in Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the suspension of operations at the Minsk embassy and the authorized departure from...

Belarus Expected to Join Ukraine Invasion: Official

Country could send troops as soon as Monday, official says

(Newser) - A senior US intelligence official says Belarus is expected to send troops into Ukraine as soon as Monday to fight alongside Russian forces that invaded Ukraine last week, the AP reports. Belarus has been providing support for Russia’s war effort, but so far has not taken a direct part...

Russian Troops Stay in Belarus Beyond Deadline
Russian Troops
Stay in Belarus 
Beyond Deadline
the rundown

Russian Troops Stay in Belarus Beyond Deadline

US intelligence shows forces at Ukraine border have orders to invade

(Newser) - The Russia-Belarus military exercises that were scheduled to end Sunday didn't. Belarus announced that the drills would be extended and said a task force was being formed to "fight back if necessary." Western military analysts had predicted Russian troops wouldn't leave on schedule, despite promises by...

US Charges 4 With Air Piracy Over 2021 Ryanair Flight

Prosecutors say Belarus officials used fake bomb threat to divert Ryanair flight to Minsk

(Newser) - Update: American prosecutors have charged four officials in Belarus with air piracy over the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk last year—though there is little chance of the officials appearing in a US court. The indictment filed by federal prosecutors says a bomb threat the Ryanair pilot...

Russian Arms, Troops Move Into Belarus
Russian Arms, Troops
Move Into Belarus
the rundown

Russian Arms, Troops Move Into Belarus

Russia denies US claim of a pretext for invading Ukraine as it prepares for exercises next-door

(Newser) - Military, political, and diplomatic maneuvering took place over the standoff between Russia and Ukraine on Monday. Russia started to move troops into Belarus, Ukraine's neighbor to the north, the Guardian reports. At the same time, Ukraine was on the edge of internal political division. Developments included:
  • A buildup in

Belarus Ruler Threatens to Turn Off Heat in Europe

Natural gas pipeline runs through country from Russia

(Newser) - Alexander Lukashenko stepped up tensions with Western nations on Thursday by saying he'd reach for the gas shutoff in the event more sanctions are imposed on Belarus. "We are heating Europe," Lukashenko said, the Washington Post reports. "They still threaten us that they will close the...

A Tense Situation Unfolds at Poland's Border
A Tense Situation Unfolds
at Poland's Border

A Tense Situation Unfolds at Poland's Border

Masses of migrants from Belarus are trying to get in

(Newser) - Poland has increased security at its border with Belarus, on the European Union's eastern border, after a large group of migrants in Belarus appeared to be congregating by the frontier seeking to try to force their way into Poland, per the AP . Video footage from Belarusian media showed people...

Poles Protest Migrants' Treatment at Border
Thousands Back Migrants

Thousands Back Migrants

Families are camped out in the cold at Poland-Balarus border

(Newser) - Thousands of protesters marched Sunday in two Polish cities in solidarity with migrants and asylum-seekers at the Poland-Belarus border who have been pushed back by Polish authorities. Several thousand people marched in Warsaw, and others protested in Krakow under the slogan "Stop torture at the border." Marchers accused...

Belarus Opposition Leader Maria Kolesnikova Sentenced

As is Maxim Znak

(Newser) - A court in Belarus on Monday sentenced two leading opposition activists to lengthy prison terms, the latest move in the relentless crackdown that Belarusian authorities have unleashed on dissent in the wake of last year’s anti-government protests. Maria Kolesnikova, a top member of the opposition Coordination Council, has been...

Belarus Defector Is Selling One of Her Prized Possessions

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya wants to help other athletes punished by regime

(Newser) - Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is starting a new life in Poland after defecting from Belarus at the Tokyo Olympics—and to help fellow athletes in her homeland, she is selling one of her most prized possessions from her old life. The 24-year-old sprinter is selling the silver medal she won in the...

IOC Asks 2 Belarus Coaches to Leave Olympics Immediately

IOC says they tried to force sprinter to board plane back to country

(Newser) - Two Belarus team coaches have been removed from the Olympics, four days after they were involved in trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to their country. The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has canceled and removed the credentials of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, the AP reports. "...

Belarus Sprinter Is Latest in a Long Line of Olympic Defectors

Dozens of Hungarians defected in 1956 after Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest

(Newser) - Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is now officially a political exile—and the latest in a long line of Olympic defectors, many of them from authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe. Unlike many of her predecessors, Tsimanouskaya didn't travel to the Olympics planning to defect, the AP reports. The 24-year-old, who...

Fleeing the Games, Sprinter Made a Last-Minute Switch

Wary of security, Belarus sprinter changed flight plans from Warsaw to Vienna at last minute

(Newser) - Change of travel plans for Krystsina Tsimanouskaya—she's headed to Vienna instead of Warsaw, at least initially. The Washington Post reports on the continuing drama swirling around the 24-year-old Olympic sprinter, who boarded a plane bound for Poland on Wednesday, less than three days after Belarus authorities took her...

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