Exiled Belarus politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya reveals 'fear' amid Russia opposition leader 'poisoning'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent John Ray

Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said "every person in our country feels fear" amid an ongoing power struggle in the country.

Addressing the world's media at a press conference in neighbouring Lithuania, Ms Tikhanovskaya was asked by ITV News if she was fearful for her life following the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

"I think that every person in our country feels fear and is scared now, but it's our mission to step over all our fears and move further," she said.

  • 'Every person in our country feels fear', says Belarus opposition leader

Ms Tikhanovskaya stood against Alexander Lukashenko in this month's presidential election, but the vote has been marred by widespread accusations of rigging and violence against protesters.

The 37-year-old fled to Lithuania in the immediate aftermath of the result, while many political opponents to Mr Lukashenko have been jailed.

Mr Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years and is often referred to as Europe's last dictator, has faced mass protests on the streets of Minsk.

An estimated 200,000 anti-Lukashenko protesters filled the capital to show their anger at the police crackdown on the opposition.

Mr Lukashenko reportedly won 80% of the presidential vote, but has faced accusations of vote rigging. Credit: AP

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has thrown his support behind Mr Lukashenko, while EU and other world powers have expressed dismay at the situation.

Ms Tikhanovskaya's husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky, was arrested as he tried to stand for election in Belarus and there are fears she may be targeted for standing up to the regime.

Opposition supporters hold flowers during a protest in Victory Square in Minsk, Belarus Credit: Sergei Grits/AP

Asked if she had a message for Vladimir Putin, Ms Tikhanovskaya said: "As I have already said a couple of times, I call for all thecountries to respect the serenity of our country and respect the choice of our people."

Ms Tikhanovskaya refused to reveal the threats she has faced since standing against Mr Lukashenko, telling ITV News: "As for threats, I don't think I would like to discuss this question now."