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Embarrassment for Belarusian opposition figurehead Tikhanovskaya as she claims Biden meeting invite before her team backtracks

Embarrassment for Belarusian opposition figurehead Tikhanovskaya as she claims Biden meeting invite before her team backtracks
Belarusian opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya claimed on Thursday that Joe Biden had invited her for a meeting, but her team was forced to reveal one day later that the invitation was, in fact, fictional.

Tikhanovskaya told Belsat, a Warsaw-based outlet bankrolled by the US State Department and Poland's right-wing government, that she was set for an encounter with the presumed US president-elect.

“We are planning to meet Joe Biden, and we have already received an invite,” she said.

The get-together would have seen the exiled activist engage with another major Western politician, after already sitting down with the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

After news of the interview gained international coverage, her adviser Franak Viačorka, who had made claims about the purported meeting, backtracked on Twitter, explaining that the opposition figurehead has an “interest” in going to Washington, but she “did not receive any official invitation from Joe Biden.” As well as his role with Tikhanovskaya, Viačorka is employed at NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct.

The former US vice president has made his support for the Belarusian opposition known, and in October promised to expand sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “henchmen.”

“As president, I will also work with our European partners and allies to lay out a plan of economic support for a truly sovereign, democratic Belarus,” he said. “I will continue to join Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and the people of Belarus in calling for the peaceful transfer of power.”

Also on rt.com US presidential hopeful Biden turns focus to Belarus, vows to sanction ‘Lukashenko regime henchmen’ until Minsk turns ‘democratic’

In the August 9 election, Tikhanovskaya came second behind incumbent President Lukashenko, as he won his sixth term in power. That’s according to official results, which are widely believed to have been rigged, with 80.1 percent of voters choosing the long-time president, and just 10.12 percent voting for Tikhanovskaya.

After the closure of polling stations, demonstrations began against the alleged falsification of results. In the weeks since the election, protests against the results have continued, with the streets of Minsk regularly seeing thousands of people turn out. The country’s law enforcement agencies have been accused of excessive violence, firing both tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds.

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