"I performed at a concert organized and directed by Oksana Volkova, my stage partner, a mezzo-soprano who has performed several times with the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra," Vysniauskas told Lithuanian journalist Ruta Janutiene after her calling during her program OpTV on YouTube on Thursday.

"My motive was to pay a pre-Christmas visit and to say with that visit that you are my friends, even if there's the Lukashenko regime, even if there's a risk I will be provoked, if I go" Vysniauskas said, adding that some of his friends pastors are imprisoned in Belarus and have had their church buildings seized.

"Why would I disown them? Why would I turn my back on them? Belarus is full of people just like us who want freedom," Vysniauskas said.

He said he went to Belarus at the invitation of his friends and "there was no Lukashenko or his elite".

"I attended prayers and I mainly interacted with church members", the opera singer said, adding that he only found out about Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Belarus on Sunday.

Vysniauskas also told the program that he had asked for a ten-minute meeting with Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys, but his advisor told him there was no time.

"I found his refusal very surprising," Vysniauskas said.

The opera singer said he would not travel to perform in Russia, and also said he supported Ukraine with prayers and regular donations.

"I have never and will never, as a Lithuanian citizen, justify any aggression, violence or terrorism," Vysniauskas said.

He now vows to continue performing in the West.

On Sunday, Vysniauskas performed in Minsk, which caused controversy in Lithuania.

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