It’s Not All Fun and Games At The Olympics

 

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has been granted a humanitarian visa by the Polish government so she can apply for refugee status in Poland. Her husband, Arsen Zhdanevich, had fled to Ukraine from Belarus as his wife continues to fight repatriation.

Tsimanouskaya was seen entering the Polish Embassy on August 2 after appealing for Japanese and international help to avoid being put on a flight against her will and spending the night at Tokyo’s international airport after apparently running afoul of Belarusian officials.

Japanese police officers intervened at the airport to prevent Belarusian authorities from placing her on a flight to take her back to Belarus. They kept her in their custody overnight until they could take her to the Polish Embassy the next morning to receive her visa.

“I can confirm that we have issued a humanitarian visa. I can confirm that we will provide all necessary support in Poland if she wishes to use it,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said on August 2.

Polish officials have said the sprinter requested the humanitarian visa and that she will be eligible to seek refugee status once in Poland. The activist group Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) has said it has purchased Tsimanouskaya a plane ticket to Warsaw, and that she plans to seek asylum.

Multiple reports said Tsimanouskaya’s husband, Arsen Zhdanevich, had traveled to Ukraine from Belarus as his wife continues to fight repatriation.

The Lukashenko regime has been brutal in its crackdown of dissent in Belarus.

Lukashenka has long regarded sports as an effective forum for countering adverse news about decades of human rights violations and political repression in Belarus.

Lukashenka served as head of the Belarusian National Olympic Committee until recently handing over its leadership to his eldest son, Viktar, in a move that was not recognized by the IOC.

Alyaksandr Opeikin, a spokesman for the BSSF, which supports opposition athletes, told Current Time that Tsimanouskaya’s fears have been compounded by the airing of several “lambasting programs” on “propaganda TV channels.”

There were other countries that offered their help:

The sprinter’s plight, which erupted when she sought help to avoid being hustled by Belarusian handlers onto a flight at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on August 1, has led to offers of help from Poland, France, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.

Poland, a country that pays their full NATO obligation, becomes more impressive with each passing day.

Poland will purchase 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 main battle tanks from the U.S., replacing older tanks dating back to the Cold War. The tanks will arm Polish Army units guarding against incursions by the Russian Army.

The purchase is a pretty remarkable turnaround of events, considering the U.S. originally designed the M1 tank to fight Soviet and Polish forces on the battlefields of Western Europe.

Poland belonged to the Soviet-backed Warsaw Pact from 1954 to 1991. The Polish Army operated the Soviet-designed T-72M1 main battle tank, and then the T-72 based PT-91 tank. The service also maintains about 250 German-made Leopard 2 A4 and A5 main battle tanks.

While the Leopard 2s are reasonably new, the T-72M1 and PT-91 tanks are obsolete by modern standards and thus need to be replaced. The addition of 250 Abrams will soon give Poland one of the most powerful tank forces in Europe.

As always by clicking on the links you can read the entire story from Radio Free Europe, as well as Popular Mechanics.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I wonder if the Poles will paint hussar wings on the turrets of their M-1s? They should.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Doug Watt:

    There were other countries that offered their help:

    The sprinter’s plight, which erupted when she sought help to avoid being hustled by Belarusian handlers onto a flight at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on August 1, has led to offers of help from Poland, France, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.

    Whattzamatter, Joe? Why aren’t we in there too? Lukashenko is a cockroach.

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Trump would have been all for this.

    • #3
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I wonder if the Poles will paint hussar wings on the turrets of their M-1s? They should.

    Have you seen this video of March of Cambreadth?  It’s a pretty good war song, and I think that those are Polish winged hussar re-enactors.

    • #4
  5. Steve Fast Coolidge
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    @dougwatt, thanks for sharing this. There is such a lack of international news in the conservative media, and I can’t stand to read the NYT and WaPo anymore just for their foreign coverage.

    • #5
  6. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Must be very bad there:

    https://www.foxnews.com/world/belarusian-activist-found-hanged-ukraine

     

    • #6
  7. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    @ dougwatt, thanks for sharing this. There is such a lack of international news in the conservative media, and I can’t stand to read the NYT and WaPo anymore just for their foreign coverage.

    Try for international news:

    https://watch.org/

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Poland still has a mix of Russian aircraft in its’ military inventory. The Hussar would look good on an A-10.

    See the source image

    • #8
  9. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    @ dougwatt, thanks for sharing this. There is such a lack of international news in the conservative media, and I can’t stand to read the NYT and WaPo anymore just for their foreign coverage.

    You’re welcome. The Crimean annexation, as well as the fighting in eastern Ukraine is certainly a cause for concern for eastern, and northern countries in Europe. Ukraine is at war with Russia. Some in the media portray the eastern Ukraine fight as an ethnic Russian insurgency. You would have to be pretty naive to believe that Russian ethnic coal miners are operating Russian tanks, not too mention artillery strikes conducted from inside Russian borders.

    • #9
  10. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Does anyone have the underlying details about whatever led the Belorussian team to try to send this particular athlete home?  What, if anything, has she done to make her fear persecution?

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Does anyone have the underlying details about whatever led the Belorussian team to try to send this particular athlete home? What, if anything, has she done to make her fear persecution?

    She had complained publicly that she had been entered as a substitution in the 4×440 relay because some of the other participants for Belorussia had been disqualified for not having had enough blood doping tests. That apparently led  to her being ordered home immediately.

    Lukashenko is cracking down on all dissent. Is that bad enough that there could be serious repercussions? She apparently thinks so. Her husband bugged out of Belorussia for Ukraine. He apparently thinks so too.

    • #11