The last remaining member of the troika of women leading the opposition to Alexander Lukashenko to remain in Belarus tore up her passport to avoid deportation on the border with Ukraine early on Tuesday morning, according to Ukrainian reports. The state-controlled Belarusian media said Maria Kolesnikova had been detained at the border.

Anton Geraschenko, Ukraine’s deputy internal affairs minister, said that the two men travelling with Ms Kolesnikov had been forcibly expelled.

In a Facebook post, the minister said: “Maria Kolesnikova could not be expelled from Belarus, because this brave woman took action to prevent her movement across the border. She remained on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.”

Ms Kolesnikova and her colleagues were snatched off the street in central Minsk at about 10:00 on Monday morning by masked men in civilian clothes who then bundled them into a minibus and drove them away.

FILE PHOTO: Kolesnikova at a protest against police brutality in Minsk on August 29, Reuters