Belarus state says opposition leader Kolesnikova arrested at border

(Update 1: Adds Lukashenko remarks)

Moscow, Sep 8 (efe-epa).- Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova was arrested at the border with Ukraine, state media announced on Tuesday after witnesses said she was snatched from the streets of Minsk.

Eyewitnesses told local media on Monday that they saw her detained by an unknown group of masked men who bundled her into a minibus in the capital.

State-owned news agency Belta reported on Tuesday that she was arrested at the border with Ukraine.

Kolesnikova is a member of the opposition Coordination Council and one of the most prominent critics of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Most of her political allies are coordinating the opposition movement from neighboring countries, to where they fled following a contentious presidential election on 9 August, which has been denounced by the opposition and European Union as fraudulent.

Kolesnikova decided to remain in Belarus after the vote.

The Belarusian State Border Committee told Belta she was detained while trying to leave the country illegally with two of her colleagues during the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“On 8 September at around 4:00 Anton Rodnenkov, Ivan Kravtsov and Maria Kolesnikova made an attempt to leave the territory of Belarus through the Aleksandrovka international road checkpoint at the Belarus-Ukraine border,” Anton Bychkovsky, an official representative of the State Border Committee, told Belta.

“Rodnenkov, Kravtsov and Kolesnikova passed the customs border control on a BMW car and headed for Ukraine.

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