Former editor of the opposition Telegram-channel NEXTA Roman Protasevich, detained in Minsk, said that former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and other opposition activists were supported by Lithuanian taxpayers, business elites and representatives of foreign Belarusian diasporas. He said this on Friday, June 4.
“Lithuanian taxpayers, in fact, support a foreign politician from their own pockets. They are partly private sponsors, representatives of the business elite,” the former editor of the opposition Telegram channel shared in his interview with the Belarusian TV channel ONT.
Protasevich noted that he does not know the goals that the businessmen who sponsor Tikhanovskaya are trying to achieve.
On the same day Roman Protasevich said in his interview to Belarusian TV channel that he intended to transfer the largest project of the Telegram channel NEXTA from Belarusian to Russian agenda, the implementation of which was planned after the end of the active part of the protests in Belarus.
The former editor of the group shared information according to which there might be several undisclosed armed groups on the territory of Belarus who were ready to go to the change of power.
Protests and riots broke out in Belarus last August after the presidential election, which ended in the victory of the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian leader blamed the situation on Western countries, which, he said, had interfered in the internal affairs of Belarus. The riots were actively covered by Telegram channel NEXTA, now recognized as extremist in the republic.
Earlier, on June 1, it was reported that the LNR General Prosecutor’s Office established the involvement of Roman Protasevich in crimes against civilians in Donbass. In this regard, the agency appealed to the authorities of Belarus with a request to provide the detainee for investigative actions.
On May 27, the supervisory authority opened a criminal case against Protasevich due to his probable participation in hostilities in Donbas. The investigation found that in the summer of 2014 Protasevich voluntarily joined the Azov organization.
Protasevich was detained on May 23 after an emergency landing of a Ryanair airline plane at Minsk airport in connection with a bomb threat, which later turned out to be false. The KGB of Belarus stated that Protasevich was involved in the combat operations in Donbas, as well as in the organization of mass disturbances in Belarus. At the same time, the head of the KGB Ivan Tertel pointed out that some Western countries and Ukraine guaranteed Protasevich immunity from responsibility for the crimes committed.
Protasiewicz himself has already confessed in the case of the organization of protests in Belarus.
In connection with the incident in Minsk, at a summit of the European Union on May 24, it was politically decided to ban Belarusian airlines to fly to the EU. The U.S. and Europe also announced sanctions against the republic.