How Belarusians are fighting in Ukraine
Belarusians hundreds go to Ukraine. Someone-to fight for Kiev, someone-for the DNI and LC. The Belarusian KGB treats those and others equally badly: Lukashenko prefers to keep active neutrality in this conflict.
The citizens of Belarus are actively taking part in the hostilities in the Donbas, and the civil war in Ukraine has put hundreds of them on opposite sides of the barricades.
Historical Belarusian white-red-white flag waving over the Maidan from the first days of the Ukrainian revolution. A citizen of Belarus Mikhail Zhizhevsky, who was in the UPA, was one of the first victims during all the protests. Now about 60-70 Belarusians form a volunteer battalion "Pagonya" on the territory of the Volyn region of Ukraine (bordering the Belarusian Brest region).
Igor Guz, deputy chairman of the Volyn regional council, says that several dozens of people in the detachment are already ready to go to the Donbass - to fight as part of the Ukrainian National Guard. Currently, all these people are training at a special training ground and passing medical commissions: only healthy people are sent to the front.
Interestingly, nobody hoped for such help in Volyn and didn’t agitate Belarusians: there are persistent rumors in all regions of Belarus that Bandera attack cars with Belarusian numbers, therefore 90% of Belarusians are just afraid to go to Ukraine. And they do not know anything about what is happening there. Guz says that the formation of the battalion is “an initiative of the Belarusians themselves,” “who want to fight Russian aggression.”
Indeed, the Belarusians who join Pagonyu do not so much want to help the Ukrainians as they are resolutely opposed to the "Russian occupiers." Basically, these are Belarusian-speaking nationalists from the central regions of Belarus. One of them, Vladislav, asked the Rosbalt correspondent not to call him by his last name, because he knows that they are already "being hunted by the KGB" for them.
“We cross the border legally. If upon returning, the border guards will ask unnecessary questions, say, that they just worked in Kiev for regular work. Type of emigration. Only the closest relatives know that we left for the war. We don’t tell anyone: anyway they will not understand, "explains the volunteer.
Speaking about the reasons that forced him to participate in the "alien war", Vladislav explains that he and his "brothers" decided to stand up for Ukraine, because "Belarus will be next." “When the Georgians said that Ukraine would be next, no one believed in it. Now Kiev is paying for its naivety. Lukashenko is not a fool, of course, and he understands everything, but sooner or later Moscow will cheat him. If there is an attack, we will partisans. And, of course, we count on the fact that our brothers Ukrainians will help us just as we are helping them now, "the volunteer says. And emphasizes: "We are not here for money. Nobody pays us."
The organization of Belarusian volunteers in Ukraine has been the National Alliance, which for many years maintained contacts with Belarusian nationalists from the Young Front and the Youth Popular Front. Guz confirms: all volunteers are under the age of 30. And almost all of them are activists of non-governmental public organizations.
However, such as Vladislav, in Belarus is still a minority. Most Belarusians take a purely pro-Moscow position. Of the ten people with whom the Rosbalt correspondent spoke on the topic of Ukraine in Minsk, eight were “for Putin”, and only two were for Ukraine. Opinion polls, including those conducted by independent researchers, show that against the background of the Ukrainian events, the rating of President Lukashenko has only grown. And the Belarusians have become even more negative than they were before the West.
“I have been living and working in Kiev for four years already. When my Kiev friends asked me who the Belarusians were for, I always said that it was definitely not for Moscow. But when I went home for a week, I was unpleasantly surprised. Most still believe in Russian propaganda "- says 30-year-old sales manager for building materials Sergey.
These sentiments are confirmed by the fact that quite a few Belarusians are fighting on the side of the militia from the DPR and the LPR. Recently, 31-year-old Natalia Krasovskaya from the Belarusian city of Borisov appeared on the Web. She doesn’t hide her face, shows her passport to the camera without any problems and says that she’s “tired” of “virtual” support on Facebook and Vkontakte and decided to help the “real” militiamen. “The words“ killer ”I’m not afraid , - Krasovskaya says and sends hello to “Rygoravich” to the camera. Krasovskaya works as a sniper in the Donbas.
Lukashenko, of course, will not approve of those Belarusians who help Kiev, or those who are fighting for the unrecognized republics of Donbass. The Belarusian president regularly holds consultations on the Ukrainian issue with Moscow, but, at the same time, strongly assures Kiev that it will continue to maintain neutrality. The Belarusian KGB received a command from the authorities to take up the search and those with weapons in the hands in favor of the independence of Donbass, and those who support the official Kiev. The Office warned: participation in foreign militias threatens Belarusian citizens with imprisonment for up to seven years.
“I stand talking to a fighter - also a Belarusian. And he says to me:“ A criminal case was brought against me ”(i.e., a fighter was brought against him). I say:“ It’s unpleasant how. And then another fighter runs out and says to me: "Natasha, your mother is calling." I take the phone, and my mom says to me: "Natasha, they came from the KGB." And my yesterday's call to my mother - again someone came, they wanted something, numbers on the "wiretapping". When I say something to my mother, I say hello to the eavesdropping guys, "Krasovskaya said in one of her interviews that appeared on YouTube." I was once told that President Alexander G. Lukashenko said that the Belarusians on this side, the militia, did not It will be that the Belarusians remain neutral and stay at home. The problem, probably, is that Alexander G. did not interview everyone personally, and now he must somehow answer for his words. And he gives all Belarusian militias absenteems in absentia, she adds.
A Ukrainian official, Guz, says that volunteers fear that KGBists might enter their ranks as "misdirected Cossacks". “After we announced the formation of the detachment, about fifty people approached us. It is clear that representatives of the Belarusian special services are appearing. We will think how to check them,” he says.
“Lukashenka is afraid that Belarusians who return home after the end of the war in Ukraine will want to use the acquired combat experience in their homeland. The intelligence services read the situation in advance and will do everything possible to prevent it,” the Belarusian political analyst from the “Strategy” analytical center explains Valery Karbalevich.
In the Chernigov and Sumy regions of Ukraine, meanwhile, rumors are spreading that Russian saboteurs are crossing the border with Ukraine along the Desna. With the help of forcing the Belarusian rivers, supporters of the DPR and LPR from Belarus also enter the Ukraine, local authorities say. However, this information was not officially confirmed. "Do you want to know whether it is possible to raft there or not? You can, this is 100% guarantee, and it is unlikely that anyone will notice. I served there," said local resident Andrew, who served 17 for years in the border forces, quoted TSN.
Meanwhile, Belarusians, who come to fight for Ukraine, have become interested in adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov Anton Gerashchenko. “Today, there really are such citizens of Belarus who want to fight on the side of Ukraine. Since they believe that by helping Ukraine fight the terrorist threat from Russia, they are helping to protect Belarus from possible attacks from Putin,” he said. Gerashchenko stressed that Ukrainian legislation does not allow attracting "foreign legions." But those Belarusians who are ready to fight for Ukraine are ready to grant citizenship.
For Lukashenka, this is a completely different problem: what will happen if the Belarusian society is divided into two parts because of the Ukrainian question? KGB alone will not be enough to prevent conflicts on this ground.
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