15:31 04.08.2021

Belarusian athlete Timanovskaya heading to Vienna - Austrian Foreign Ministry

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Belarusian athlete Timanovskaya heading to Vienna - Austrian Foreign Ministry

An Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Interfax that Belarusian athlete Kristina Timanovskaya, who participated in the Tokyo Olympics and refused to return to Belarus, is currently on a flight to Vienna.

"The Austrian Foreign Ministry can confirm that this Belarusian athlete is on her way to Vienna," the ministry spokesperson said.

According to earlier media reports, Timanovskaya was due to fly out to Poland, which earlier granted her a humanitarian visa.

Timanovskaya said in an interview with the BBC that her refusal to return to Belarus is not politically motivated.

As reported, Timanovskaya arrived at the airport from the Polish embassy in Tokyo in a police car and entered the airport's VIP area in the company of several officials, refusing to speak to scores of journalists tracking her movements.

Sources' information indicates that she was due to leave for Warsaw at 10:20 a.m. local time on a LOT Polish Airlines flight.

According to media reports, Timanovskaya sought police protection at the Tokyo airport after she was brought there by representatives of the Belarusian delegation planning to send her back home. International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesperson Mark Adams told journalists later that the Belarusian athlete had spent the night at a Tokyo airport hotel "in a safe and secure environment." Timanovskaya was then transported to the Polish embassy in Japan, where she requested political asylum.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said on Twitter on Monday that Poland's authorities had issued a humanitarian visa to Timanovskaya. The possibility of granting political asylum to Timanovskaya will be reviewed as soon as an official application to this effect arrives, he said.

The IOC will investigate the Belarusian delegation's actions related to the scandal around Timanovskaya and has already formed a special commission, Adams said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in turn, has described the Belarusian authorities' actions in relation to Timanovskaya as an unacceptable violation of her rights and the Olympic spirit.

German Foreign Office spokesperson Maria Adebahr, for her part, has called on Minsk to respect citizens' rights.

 

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