In the last nine months, Lithuania has issued over 16000 long-term visas to Belarus citizens.

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In the last nine months, Lithuania has issued over 16000 long-term visas to Belarus citizens.

Since widespread protests against autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko’s rule began, tens of thousands of Belarusians have sought asylum in Lithuania, fleeing political upheaval in their own country.

Over 16,000 Belarusians have secured long-term visas in Lithuania in the last nine months, according to the Lithuanian Migration Department. A humanitarian effort was used to issue about 3,500 of them, implying political purpose.

Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, has become a haven for Belarusian opposition figures, including activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and even a whole Belarusian university. Lukashenko’s decision to divert a Ryanair flight carrying journalist Raman Pratasevich has alarmed many people who have sought refuge in other countries.

Lukashenko’s despotic speech on Wednesday only added to those anxieties, as the strongman told his critics that they would be “held to account.”

In a speech, he added, “We know your faces, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re called to account before the Belarusian people.”

See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.

Viachka Krasulin claims he was arrested and savagely beaten by police in Belarus in August 2020 for participating in a rally challenging the results of an election that kept autocratic Lukashenko in power.

Security forces threatened to sodomize Krasulin with a truncheon if he joined the protest, according to Krasulin. After complaining to authorities about the police’s activities, they opened a criminal case against him instead of the security forces, and he fled to Lithuania.

Until this week, he and other Lukashenko critics believed that fleeing to neighbouring European Union nations would protect them from the government’s broad crackdown.

They aren’t so sure anymore. Belarus diverted a plane transporting dissident journalist Pratasevich to Minsk on Sunday, when he was apprehended. Lukashenko has also promised to track down individuals who resist him, even if they flee the country.

Krasulin, a 32-year-old ethnographer and singer, said, “I was a hostage of Lukashenko’s tyranny, but now the entire European Union is in the same condition.” “Torture, ruthless repression, and a hunt for journalists have spilled over Belarusian borders and become an issue for the entire European Union.”

The Ryanair plane was flying from Greece to Lithuania, both of which are members of the EU. This is a condensed version of the information.

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