Maria Kolesnikova could face up to five years in prison as president cracks down on opposition

Belarusian authorities have charged the opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova with “actions aimed at undermining national security”, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The charge, announced by the country’s investigative committee, is the latest move in a crackdown on opposition leaders by the embattled president, Alexander Lukashenko, who has lost legitimacy among much of the population but retains the support of law enforcement agencies.

Related: Russia to lend Belarus $1.5bn as Lukashenko tells Putin ‘a friend is in trouble’

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

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