Sjarhej Hrybovič (53) was arrested in March for inciting social hatred and preparing for a foreign war, the pro-government channels of the Telegram social network in Belarus reported in mid-March. In a confession for the camera (which according to Free Europe looks forced), he says he filled out a fight request in Ukraine on Telegram.
There are at least two hundred of these Belarusians who have already taken up arms to help Ukraine; hundreds more are considering it. In this way, both groups are actually recruiting volunteers on Telegram. One is the Kastus Battalion of Kalinous, named after a national revivalist and rebel against Russian rule. As he said earlier in March, he is said to have sent two hundred of them to Ukraine, and hundreds more to train in Poland.
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“If we abandon Ukraine to Putin, we will forever lose the independence of Belarus and we and our children will bear the stigma of aggressors and occupiers.” Sjarhej Bespalu wrote on Telegram, who says he is already fighting in Kyiv. According to Free Europe, at least two Belarusians have already fallen in the fighting in Ukraine.
Billboards in Kyiv honoring Kastus Kalinovsky’s battalion were also singled out on Twitter by Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Cichanouska, who had to go into exile after running for president . Coincidentally, the Kastus Kalinovsky Forum on the Future of Ukraine and Belarus was held in Vilnius, Lithuania on Monday.
The second group was founded by Vadzim Prakopjeu, a Belarusian businessman living in Ukraine. “300 volunteers are ready to join the Ukrainian Foreign Legion”,said in an interview with Ukraine Ukraine in early March. According to him, thousands of other Belarusians are helping from the background.
It is said that Kastus Kalinouský’s battalion has not received any news of the arrested Hrybovič, so it could fall into the trap of the Lukashenko regime. “If you’re in Belarus or Russia, don’t use real names, hide your phone number, or better yet, buy a new SIM card.” wrote the battalion on its telegram channel.
ByPol, an association of former Belarusian police officers against Lukashenko, is trying to draw attention to fake chalets and apps. He knows about two so far. Their addresses differ from those mentioned above only in one small detail, they try to deceive the volunteers, like classic fraudulent e-mails.
Bypol’s Alexander Azarau believes they are led by GUBAZIK, the Organized Crime and Corruption Unit of the Interior Ministry. This would not be the first lure of the Belarusian secret services. As Azarau says, in the past, for example, the Telegram site looked for people willing to attack an official; dozens of people may have been arrested as a result.
According to him, such mass provocations are illegal, in each individual case the prosecutor should authorize it. “People are driven to commit a crime here. He may not have intended to do anything, but he received this information. It’s a general violation of the law.” provides Azarau for Radio Svaboda.