VILNIUS, LITHUANIASEPTEMBER 9, 2020SOURCE: TELEGRAM CHANNEL PUL PERVOYRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE
1. SOUNDBITE 1 - Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, former presidential candidate (Russian, 15 sec): "It has never been a struggle against Russia, and I am sure it will not become such. Please do not believe the propaganda media and politicians who claim otherwise."
2. SOUNDBITE 2 - Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, former presidential candidate (Russian, 16 sec): "It is very important not to damage relations between our peoples. Belarusians are set to maintain friendly relations with all our neighbours while, of course, maintaining the sovereignty of our own country."
3. SOUNDBITE 3 - Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, former presidential candidate (Russian, 13 sec)"We, Belarusians, are very grateful to the Russians who support the struggle of the Belarusian people for freedom. We will not forget any of the gestures or actions of solidarity."
6. SOUNDBITE 4 - Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, former presidential candidate (Russian, 16 sec): "Let's not allow propaganda to poison ties between the two friendly peoples, and let dishonest politicians damage the interests of both Belarus and Russia. Support the Belarusian people!"
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Leading Belarus opposition figure appeals to Russians
Moscow, Sept 9, 2020 (AFP) - Belarus's leading opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Wednesday called on Russians not to believe propaganda trying to "poison" ties between the two peoples and thanked those backing Belarusians' "fight for freedom".Tikhanovskaya's first major address to Russians came after President Alexander Lukashenko gave a wide-ranging interview to a group of journalists from Russian state media on Tuesday."It is very important not to damage ties between the two countries," 37-year-old Tikhanovskaya said in the video address from EU member Lithuania, where she has taken shelter after being forced out of the country."Let's not allow propaganda to poison ties between two friendly peoples, and unscrupulous politicians to damage the interests of both Belarus and Russia," she said.She said that a month-long protest movement in Belarus was not aimed at Russia and thanked independent Russian journalists for coverage of the demonstrations."We... are very grateful to the Russians who support the Belarusian people's fight for freedom," she said.Unprecedented demonstrations broke out in Belarus after Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet state for 26 years, claimed to have defeated Tikhanovskaya and won re-election with 80 percent of the vote on August 9.Lukashenko has refused to quit and his security forces have detained thousands of protesters, many of whom accused police of beatings and torture.Several people have died during the crackdown.No date has been set, but Lukashenko is preparing to travel to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Putin quickly congratulated Lukashenko on his victory last month and has offered Russia's support.Lukashenko gave the interview to Russian journalists including Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Kremlin-controlled channel RT, in which he warned that if his government falls, "Russia will be next".Anti-Kremlin placards could be seen at a huge protest march that took place in Minsk on Sunday. bur-as/mm/wdb