Belarus opposition leader hit with mystery illness after foreign minister ‘killed in Putin plot to make country Russian’ | The Sun

JAILED Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova has been rushed to hospital with a life-threatening mystery illness after days ina "punishment cell", according to allies.

It comes days after the mystery death of Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, who died suddenly moments before a key meeting with Russia after vowing not to support Putin's orders.

Maria was rushed to hospital on Monday from a prison in Homiel, southeast Belarus, where she was an 11-year sentence after leading protests against "rigged" elections.,

The outspoken activist was brought to an intensive care unit and underwent surgery on Monday night, with the doctor's diagnosis unknown.

Her lawyer Vladimir Pylchenko said she had been placed in a penitentiary cell before she was taken to hospital but did not elaborate on her condition.

Belarusian Democratic Movement leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya demanded answers from the regime.

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"This is extremely worrying, Maria Kolesnikova has been hospitalised in intensive care for unknown reasons," she said on Twitter.

"Her lawyer has not been allowed to see her.

"Recently she was placed in a punishment cell – We need information about her condition and must assure that she gets proper help."

Alexander Kolesnikov, Maria's father, said she was in a grave but stable condition.

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He said the doctors did not share her diagnosis or any other details with him about the surgery.

He noted that his daughter looked energetic and cheerful when he last visited her in prison about a month ago.

Maria, 40, was jailed in 2021 after leading protests against the discredited re-election of Belarus' leader Alexander Lukashenko the year before.

Amid unrest in the capital Minsk, she was snatched off the street by masked men and thrown into a van.

She was charged with conspiring to seize power, creating a hardline organisation and calling for action that threatened the security of the state.

Belarus has a history of silencing the opposition, and last year arrested scores of protesters in a crackdown on dissent following the disputed re-election of Lukashenko.

The former Soviet Union Republic has been involved in Russia's war in Ukraine, homing Putin's troops and missiles.

But now Lukashenko is said to fear he'll be next in Putin's plot to control Belarus, after his colleague's mystery death.

Vladimir Makei, 64, died just days before a key meeting with the Kremlin after vowing his nation would not allow Putin's troops to use it as a staging area to attack Ukraine.

It is believed, Moscow was enraged that Lukashenko and Makei blocked the Belarus army from actively fighting in Ukraine. 

Reports suggest he died from a heart attack – but exiled Putin foe Leonid Nevzlin alleged it was a result of poisoning.

The Kremlin, however, has denied any involvement in his death.

Russia's foreign ministry representative Maria Zakharova said in a Telegram message: "We are shocked by reports of the death of the head of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei."

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"Official condolences from the Russian Foreign Ministry will be published in the near future."

The muddied alliance between Russian and Belarus became more clear last year when a Belarus MiG-29 fighter jet allegedly threatened to blast a Ryanair plane carrying 123 passengers out of the sky as part of a plot to arrest an anti-regime blogger.

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