Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the Belarusian Democratic Movement, met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

She is widely believed to have won a 2020 presidential election in her country rigged by Moscow’s vassal in Belarus Aleksander Lukashenko and is the head of the Belarusian government in exile, the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus. 

The significance of this meeting was summarized by Valery Kavaleuski, Deputy Head Representative for Foreign Affairs of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, on his X (formerly) Twitter page (@kavaleuski):

“In a historic development, Belarus opens a new chapter in relations with NATO – the main factor of stability and security in Europe. Today @Tsihanouskaya head of @CabinetBelarus met with NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg and exchanged views at a briefing with Permanent Representatives of 32 allies at the North Atlantic Council.

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Deeply grateful to @RugeBoris and his team for their openness and forward-leaning approach. Proud and inspired to launch this relationship.

Belarus and the Alliance share the same values – individual liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. We share the same aspirations of peace, security, and freedom that reinforce and complement each other.

A democratic Belarus will make friendly relations with NATO a priority in our international security agenda.”

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Tsikhanouskaya herself called it “a historic day for Belarus.” She added: “We share core values: freedom, human rights, democracy & rule of law. We are building our dialogue on a vision of security & stability for Europe.”

The Belarusian opposition leader has been very supportive of Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2024.

On Monday, May 6, meeting with students in Kaunas, Lithuania, she told them “The regime in Minsk has become not only a threat to Belarusians but also to the entire region. From nuclear threats to aiding Russia's war against Ukraine, this regime betrays Belarus by serving Moscow's interests, not ours. This danger will remain as long as the regime holds power.”

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