Sprinter Kristina Tsimanoeskaja, who was kicked out of the Belarus Olympic team on Sunday due to criticism of her coaches, has arrived in Vienna. She will fly to Warsaw on Wednesday.
The Austrian Airlines aircraft on which she departed from Tokyo avoided the airspace of the athlete’s mother country.
After being banned from the Olympic team, the Belarus Olympic Committee ordered the 24-year-old sprinter to return home. Instead, Tsimanoeskaya went to the Polish embassy in Tokyo, which had offered her a visa for humanitarian reasons. Tsimanushkaja would participate in the women’s 200 meters on Monday.
She had changed her travel plans at the last minute and had not flown directly from Japan to Poland but Austria. In the transit area at Vienna airport, she is accompanied by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representatives. Her husband now also has a Polish humanitarian visa.
The incident has drawn attention to Belarus, where police have been cracking down on dissent people since a wave of protest rocked the country after the 2020 elections. At the time, the opposition said they had been manipulated to keep President Alexander Lukashenko in power…
Vitaly Shishov, a Belarusian activist, living in exile in Ukraine, was found dead early Tuesday in a park near his home in Kyiv. The local police have launched a murder investigation. Shishov led an organization that helps Belarusians fleeing persecution in their country.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky on Wednesday ordered his security services to provide additional protection for Belarusian exiles. “Any Belarus who criminals may target because of its political positions should be given special and reliable protection,” he said in a statement.