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Belarus opposition leader to speak at Labour conference

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (David Parry/PA)
Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (David Parry/PA)

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will be the special guest speaker on the final day of the Labour Party conference.

She will use her address to the gathering in Liverpool to say the fate of her country and neighbouring Ukraine are connected in the fight against Vladimir Putin’s “Russian imperialism”.

Belarus, under authoritarian ruler Alexander Lukashenko, was used as a launch point for the invasion of its southern neighbour by Mr Putin’s forces.

Ms Tsikhanouskaya met Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer when she visited Westminster.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer met Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at his office in the House of Commons in March (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A Labour spokesman said: “In 2020 Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya bravely stood for election as president of Belarus against Putin-backed dictator Alexander Lukashenko, inspiring people to take to the streets after election victory was taken away by the armed forces.

“Since then she has been forced to flee her home country but has remained a leader of the peaceful resistance against the Putin backed oppressive regime in Belarus and a prominent advocate of political and civil freedom.

“Her legacy and her work continue to inspire pro-democratic movements in Belarus and in Russia, making her of the biggest external enemies to the Kremlin outside of Belarus and Russia.

“Her message at conference will be the fate of Belarus and Ukraine are interconnected and both countries are fighting against Russian imperialism and fighting for a future of independence and sovereignty from Vladimir Putin.”