Poland issues humanitarian visas to Belarusian Olympic athletes | Sputnik Olympic News


Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is expected to leave Tokyo for Warsaw this week after the flight standoff on Sunday.

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland confirmed on Monday that Belarusian Olympian Christina Zimanusskaya has obtained a humanitarian visa from Poland.

This move was made after the 24-year-old sprinter Refuse Flew home from Tokyo on Sunday, claiming that her team tried to force her to board the plane against her wishes.

She then sought protection from the Japanese police and went to the Polish Embassy in the Japanese capital on Monday.

According to Reuters, she arrived at the building in an unmarked silver van at around 5 pm local time (08:00 GMT). She went out carrying the luggage of the official team and was welcomed by two officials before entering the venue.

Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz stated that Zimanusskaya had “direct contact” with Polish diplomats in Tokyo.

“She has obtained a humanitarian visa,” he wrote on Twitter. “Poland will make every effort to help her continue her sports career.”

Przydacz told Reuters that Tsimanouskaya was “safe and in good condition” after arriving at the Polish embassy.

Polish media quoted officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that they expected her to go to Poland this week.

The Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation told the Associated Press that the organization bought her a ticket to Warsaw on Wednesday.

At the same time, a source from the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs told Reuters that Zimanusskaya’s husband Arseny Zidanevich had entered Ukraine.

It is unclear whether he will travel to Poland to reunite with his spouse.

‘I’m under pressure’

The current stalemate apparently started after Zimanusskaya criticized officials for managing the Belarusian Olympic team.

She was then apparently rushed to Tokyo Airport, but refused to board the flight to Minsk via Istanbul, and instead asked the police for help.

In the shooting information posted on social media, she also asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for help.

“I was under pressure and they tried to forcibly take me abroad without my consent,” she said in the message.

However, the Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement that the coach decided to let her withdraw from the game based on the advice of the doctor Zimanusskaya “emotional and psychological state”.

Belarusian track and field coach Yuri Moisevic told national television that he “can see that she has a problem…she is either isolated from the world or doesn’t want to talk.”

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams said that officials would continue the dialogue with Zimanusskaya and asked the Belarusian Olympic Committee to provide a complete report.

The Japanese government stated that she had been in a safe state while the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the International Olympic Committee checked her intentions.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu said: “Japan is coordinating with relevant parties and continues to take appropriate actions.”

This incident has renewed attention to political discord in Belarus, a former Soviet country managed by long-time President Alexander Lukashenko.

After the August 2020 election triggered a wave of protests, the authorities there ruthlessly suppressed dissidents, and the election was denounced as being manipulated by the country’s political opposition.

Since taking office in 1994, Lukashenko has denied allegations of vote-rigging.

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