Belarusian Nobel Laureate Alexievich Cancels Event In Ukraine Amid Threats

Belarusian writer and Nobel Literature Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich says she has canceled her meeting with readers in the Ukrainian city of Odesa amid threats.

Alexievich said in a video statement on August 8 that she learned about threats against her and the organizers of the meeting and therefore decided to cancel the event planned at the Green Theater in the Black Sea port city.

The Green Theater wrote on Facebook that Alexievich's name was added to a list of "enemies of Ukraine" by the Ukrainian nationalist website Myrotvorets (Peacekeeper) four hours before Alexievich's scheduled meeting with readers on August 8.

The Myrotvorets site accused Alexievich of "propagating interethnic discord and manipulating information important for society" in a speech she delivered in Brooklyn, New York, in 2016.

Although the site removed Alexievich's name from the list several hours later, the writer and the theater decided to cancel the event "to avoid possible risks for Alexievich and the audience in the theater."

In her video statement, Alexievich called Myrotvorets' statement about her anti-Ukrainian stance "absolutely far-fetched."

"My mother is Ukrainian. I was born in Ukraine and I have always felt my Ukrainian blood... It is always important for me to meet with Ukraine," said Alexievich, who grew up in Belarus and has Belarusian citizenship.

In her very first public statement after she was announced the Nobel Prize winner in literature in 2015, Alexievich condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, calling it an armed intervention.