According to Belarusian border officials, Maria Kolesnikova is detained while trying to enter Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a day after her colleagues said she was caught on the street by masked people.
The circumstances of her visit to Ukraine were not immediately clear, with some media reports initially suggesting that she had crossed it across the border, with some border guards on both sides later denying it.
On Monday, the opposition movement said that unknown people had taken Kolenisova to central Minsk and locked her in a minivan, while two other activists later disappeared.
Those two allies successfully crossed into Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Ukrainian Border Service said.
“Kolnikova is now taken into custody, but I do not understand where she is, but she has been detained,” Anton Bychkowski, a representative of the Belarusian Border Service, told Reuters by phone.
“He was detained in relation to the circumstances under which they (the group) left the territory of Belarus,” he said.
The official Belta news agency said that she was traveling with two other activists who had made it to Ukraine. Kolsnikova could not immediately be reached for comment.
Belta quoted border officials as saying that the trio tried to cross the border in a BMW car at around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, and said that Kolenikova’s car accelerated after being confronted by border guards.
“Kolnikova was outside the vehicle. In fact, she was pushed from it and it continued towards Ukraine,” Belta quoted the border service as saying.
According to Interfax Ukraine News Agency, Kolenikova snatched her passport to attempt to deport neighboring Ukraine.
Deputy Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Gerashenko said on Facebook that Kolnikova, who had been missing for the past 24 hours, had successfully prevented “forcible expulsion from her country of origin”.
Belarusian Journalist Andrei Vaitovich told Al Jazeera that because Kolsnikova got her passport, it was torn “Proves once again that this departure was not voluntary “.
he said: “He did not [want] To leave the country. She told me a few days ago that she will stay here till the end. Today, what we have proved once again is that the Belarusian authorities tried to take out the main opposition figures from the country so that they could lead the protest. “
Police in Minsk were quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency on Monday as saying that they had not arrested Kolnikova.
Kolsnikova, a member of the opposition Coordination Council, was the last of three women politicians from Belarus who tried to challenge Alexander Lukashenko by joining forces before the presidential election on 9 August.
A vocal critic of Lukashenko, he has played an important role in the weeks of mass demonstrations and attacks by protesters who accused Lukashenko of rigging his re-election.
Lukashenko, who has been in power for the last 26 years, has denied that charge and accused foreign powers of trying to topple him in a revolution. He has responded with a rebuke that says those detained include torture and beatings.
Al Jazeera and news agencies