Updated at 16:42,06-12-2016

Mayor of Vilnius promises support to victims of politically motivated persecution in Belarus

Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas promised support to Belarusians persecuted in their homeland on politically motivated grounds while meeting with a delegation of the country`s pro-democratic activists this week, said the press office of the United Civic Party (UCP).

Mr. Zuokas said that Lithuania was interested in democratization processes in neighboring Belarus, and promised support to political victims, opposition activist Alyaksandr Atroshchankaw told the UCP press office.

The mayor said that an attitude to Alyaksandr Lukashenka among many Lithuanians was different from that showed by President Dalia Grybauskaite, who is known for her friendly remarks about the Belarusian leader.

"Most Lithuanian politicians want to see democratic change in Belarus, including the release of all political prisoners and the conduct of free elections", said Mr. Zuokas.

"To count on some assistance from the West, the Belarusian authorities must take these steps", he stressed.

The Belarusian delegation to the meeting included, apart from Mr. Atroshchankaw, opposition politician Stanislaw Shushkevich, journalist Natallya Radzina and the wives of two political prisoners — former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich and ex-candidate Andrey Sannikaw’s ally Dzmitry Bandarenka.