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21st May 2022

Lithuania seeks EU reaction to Belarus killing

  • Thursday's death came after three and half of months of regime brutality (Photo: tut.by)

Lithuania is expecting an EU reaction to the "shocking" killing of a young Belarusian man.

"Shocked by the death of Roman Bondarenko," Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevicius said on Thursday (12 November).

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"Astonishing cynicism, cruelty of the regime, and blunt ignorance of people's aspirations for changes," the minister added, after the death of the 31-year old Belarusian.

"He [Bondarenko] was brutally beaten by [Belarusian president Alexander] Lukashenko's thugs last night. He became a victim of the regime's inhumanity and terror," Svetlana Tikhanovksya, a Belarusian opposition leader, added.

Thousands of protesters also "screamed" accusations of "fascists!" at police during a Bondarenko-memorial in Minsk the same day, according to NGO Belarus Free Theatre.

Bondarenko had died of head injuries in hospital earlier the same day, after plain-clothes men beat him up and dragged him off in a van on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in a children's playground, when the victim asked why they were removing red-and-white ribbons, representing the opposition movement's flag, which had been tied to a fence, according to Belarusian news agency tut.by.

Bondarenko was later delivered to a hospital with a note saying he had been "injured during a fight".

And Belarusian authorities denied any responsibility, according to the Reuters news agency.

"Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of the emergency hospital doctors, the patient died," the Belarusian health ministry said.

He joined a growing list of casualties after three and a half months of regime violence, including detention and torture of thousands of people.

The EU foreign service had not yet issued a comment as of Friday morning.

But Europe has refused to recognise the outcome of Lukashenko's rigged elections on 9 August.

It also blacklisted him and his oldest son, Viktor, last week "due to the "gravity of the situation", joining 47 other Belarusian officials under an EU visa-ban and asset-freeze.

And "this list is under constant review," Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde said at the time.

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