Belarus Review by iSANS — March 11, 2024 

Belarus Review by iSANS — March 11, 2024


Belarus Review (2024 edition, issue 10)

A weekly update on the ongoing political crisis in the Republic of Belarus was prepared for you by the International Strategic Action Network for Security (iSANS).

On March 4, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan arrived in Belarus on an official visit. During the visit, negotiations were held with the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Belarus and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus. On March 4, Aliaksandr Lukashenka signed a decree “On the transfer of state bodies and other organizations to work in wartime conditions.” The document improves the procedure for transferring state bodies from peacetime to military work, ensuring their coordinated and effective interaction in the event of threats to national security, taking into account changes in military and political conditions. The full text of the decree has not yet been published. From March 4 to 7, mobilization readiness classes were held throughout Belarus with the territorial defense authorities. The formation of territorial troops was practiced. Classes are held twice a year. Field tests of the upgraded 9A33-2B combat vehicle from the Osa anti-aircraft missile system have been completed. The modernization of the Osa air defense system is carried out at the 2566th electronic weapons repair plant located in Barysau. The Russian military began operating Belarusian-made MAZ-6317 vehicles. This conclusion can be reached based on information disseminated by one of the Z-channels. Probably, heavy losses in equipment and the inability of the Russian industry to meet all the needs forced the Russian military to start buying vehicles in Belarus. The scale of purchases is unknown. Units of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus will be located in the Homel and Mazyr districts of Belarus bordering Ukraine until the end of 2024. This conclusion can be reached based on information on public procurement. Officially, the units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus are there to strengthen the protection of the border with Ukraine. However, in reality, the Belarusian military is, among others, engaged in the protection of the Russian military at the airfields “Mazyr” and “Zyabrouka”. On March 6, the movement of Iskander-M tactical missile systems of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus was recorded on the territory of the Minsk region. The Belarusian Defense Ministry did not report on training exercises with missile units. The total amount of national defense expenditures of all budgets of the Homel region for 2024 amounted to ≈ 1.6 million USD. This is 37% more than in 2023. The planned expenditures will not only allow to finance the current activities of the local authorities in the field of national defense but also continue to invest in it. On March 4 and 10, an AN-124 transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces arrived at the Baranavichy airfield. In both cases, a few hours later, the plane flew to Rzhev (Russia), where the 514th Aviation repair plant is located. It should be recalled that Russian aviation is stationed at the Baranavichy airfield.


On March 4, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk stated during his visit to Lithuania that Poland will call on the European Union to completely ban grain and food imports from Russia and Belarus to improve regional security and protect the bloc’s agricultural market. The announcement came against the background of ongoing protests of the Polish farmers, who were blocking Ukrainian grain imports at the Polish borders, including with the neighboring country Lithuania. According to Tusk, the joint European decision on the ban of imports from Russia and Belarus would be more effective than individual decisions of countries in the region. A resolution urging the EU to enforce sanctions on agricultural imports from Russia and Belarus was adopted later the same week in the Polish parliament (Sejm). The resolution aims at protecting domestic markets and calls for a reconsideration of EU climate policies, which are deemed unreasonable. On March 7 it became known that from March 9 to 15, the next meeting of the Austrian-Belarusian Business Council will be held in Bludenz, Austria. The meeting is organized by the Austrian Federal Chamber of Economics jointly with Lukashenka’s Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Reportedly, the Head of the “Administration of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park “Great Stone”, Alexander Yaroshenko, is going to present “the investment potential of the Park”. Moreover, discussions with official state bodies of Austria and potential industrial park residents are scheduled. On the same day, it was announced that the General Court of the European Union rejected the claim by the AAT Byelorussian Steel Works – the management company of ‘Byelorussian Metallurgical Company’ holding and AAT Mostovdrev to exclude the companies from EU’s sanctions list against Belarusian iron, steel, and wood industry. The Court held that the import restrictions were adequately reasoned and there was no misuse of powers, the measures were not disproportionate to the aim of exerting pressure on Belarus to refrain from any involvement in the war in Ukraine. The closure of two more border checkpoints at Lithuania’s border with Belarus already made an impact on cross-border transport last week. Reportedly, large queues of cars and busses formed at the only one operational border crossing point in Poland. The Lithuanian Border Control Committee reported waiting times of 67-72 hours for trucks at operational border crossing points in Lithuania and queues of hundreds of trucks on the Belarusian side of the border to Lithuania. According to the official data of the Lithuanian customs, about 91 cars and 151 trucks crossed at the border checkpoint Medininkai and 113 cars and 141 trucks at the Beniakonys checkpoint from the morning of March 7 to the morning of March 8. At the same time, the official Lukashenka Border Security Committee reported over 3000 cars and trucks waiting at border crossings to Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Last week, the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was on a working visit to Bulgaria, where she spoke at the meeting with the European Affairs Committee and underlined the continued resistance of Belarusians on their path towards democracy; met with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Nikolai Denkov and invited Bulgaria to restore the relations between Belarus and Bulgaria that Lukashenka destroyed, to join the group “For a Democratic Belarus” in the OSCE, as well as support the work of the Contact Group in the Council of Europe. The dialogue focused on the Russian threat to the independence of Belarus and the regime’s involvement in the war. The parties also discussed ways to hold the regime accountable. During her visit to Sofia Tsikhanouskaya also met with the former Prime Minister, currently a Member of the Bulgarian parliament Boyko Borisov, who expressed his support for the democratic forces of Belarus and his readiness to become a chai or co-chair of the group “For Democratic Belarus” in the parliament. During her meeting with the Mayor of Sofia Vassil Terziev, Tsikhanouskaya discussed the possibility of internships for the participants of the UTC Personnel Reserve program, and the problems of the Belarusian diaspora in Sofia, and called for the support of Belarusians. The issues of legalization of Belarusians in Bulgaria, issues of apostille, recognition of expired Belarusian passports as valid as well as support for democratic Belarus at the UN bodies were discussed by the leader of the democratic forces of Belarus during her meeting with the Deputy Minister of Justice Emil Dechev. Also last week, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke at the European People’s Party (EPP) Young Leaders network in Bucharest, Romania. Tsikhanouskaya recalled in her speech the events of 2020 when she was registered as a presidential candidate instead of her imprisoned husband and was taken by Lukashenka as a joke. She stated that Lukashenka often repeats that he does not fight with women, but that is exactly what he is doing regarding Tsikhanouskaya. Moreover, the leader of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus gave an overview of the situation with political prisoners in Belarus and the regime’s actions against them, holding the most prominent ones incommunicado for a long time, and added that “it is a moral obligation to fight for political prisoners”. While in Bucharest, Tsikhanouskaya met with the Romanian Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu to discuss issues with visas for Belarusians and holding the Lukashenka regime accountable through the ICC. Moreover, during the EPP Congress, the Belarusian leader met with the Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković as well as the Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović. Tsikhanouskaya expressed gratitude to Croatia for supporting the Council of Europe’s recent document on Belarus, which calls for issuing more visas to Belarusians and resolving the legalization of stay problems.


The Investigative Committee launched special proceedings against former political prisoner, and human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka. He was charged with assistance to extremist activities. The mechanism of special proceedings allows the authorities to try their opponents in absentia if they are abroad. Leanid Sudalenka headed the Homel branch of Viasna” Human Rights Center. He was detained on January 18, 2021, on his way to work. He was accused of committing group actions grossly violating public order and sentenced to three years of imprisonment. He fully served his sentence, was released on July 21, 2023, and soon left Belarus. 45 people were convicted on charges of high treason during the 2022-2023 period, KGB chief Ivan Tsertsel said at a meeting on February 20. Belarusian human rights defenders are aware of at least 44 Belarusians who have already been convicted on such charges, and at least ten more persons who are being held in custody awaiting trial or sentencing. “This figure may be even higher, since cases of “high treason” are proceeded under a veil of secrecy, and the trials, in their overwhelming majority, are held in a closed mode,” “Viasna” Human Rights Center notes. The leader of Belarusian democratic forces Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and former security officers from BYPOL Stanislau Lupanosau and Aliaksandr Azarau were convicted of “high treason” in absentia. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, together with charges under other articles of the Criminal Code, was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment, Stanislau Lupanosau – to 18, and Aliaksandr Azarau – to 25 years of imprisonment. On the same charges military and security officials, journalists, a programmer, a musician, and a cultural manager were convicted. There were also “collective sentences” – for example, ten defendants in the Rabochy Ruh (“Workers’ Movement”) case and “rail partisans”, who were suspected of sabotage on the Belarusian railway, were accused of high treason as well. They were sentenced to 21 to 23 years of imprisonment. At the beginning of March, the Belarus PEN presented a monitoring report on the situation in the field of cultural rights in 2023. 1,499 violations of cultural rights and human rights against cultural figures were recorded, of these – 1,097 violations against 605 cultural figures and persons; 163 violations against 147 organizations and communities; 57 violations concerning objects of historical and cultural heritage and the Belarusian language. As of December 31, 2023, no less than 155 cultural figures are imprisoned or detained, 104 of whom are recognized as political prisoners. Since August 2020, more than 8,000 women have been subjected to political persecution in Belarus, “Viasna” Human Rights Center reports. In connection with the protests against the current government and the war in Ukraine, since 2020, a total of at least 1,033 women have been convicted, 242 of them were sentenced to imprisonment, 567 to restriction of liberty, 17 to a fine, five to arrest, two to compulsory treatment in a psychiatric hospital. Today, 171 women political prisoners in Belarus are currently being held in places of detention. More than 40 people among political prisoners have disabilities and serious illnesses. Since 2021, five political prisoners have died in colonies. The reason was inhuman treatment and torturous conditions; the victims did not have access to prompt and quality medical care. Three of them had serious health problems before their imprisonment. According to the law, the state of a person’s health should be taken into account when a detainee is given a preventive measure. The decision is made by the investigator, in most cases the prosecutor automatically issues a sanction. According to available judicial statistics, while in 2010 the courts canceled the detention in 10% of cases following complaints, in 2021 this figure dropped to 1.3%. As a result, people with disabilities, pregnant women, the elderly, and seriously ill people with diabetes, cancer, and other diseases are sent to pre-trial detention centers. Vasil Zavadsky, the former head of the medical service of the Department of Corrections of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, notes that investigators often use the state of health of the accused to get “necessary” testimony from him or her – “they threaten with health consequences: either sign or it will be even worse.” In almost all cases, defendants under “political” charges are sent to custody, despite their state of health. There is an instruction from above to give stricter punishment. An example is the case of Mikalai Klimavich, who had a disability group II. He was given a year in prison for liking a cartoon depicting Lukashenka on a social network, although at the trial, the accused and his lawyer stated that the man would not tolerate imprisonment for health reasons. Two months later, he died in the colony. On March 4, Volha Garbunova, a representative of the United Transitional Cabinet for social policy, received the International Women of Courage (IWOC) award from the hands of the United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the US First Lady Jill Biden. The ceremony was held in Washington, it was broadcast live on the websites of the White House and the State Department. Introducing Garbunova, the Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice for the United States State Department, Desirée Cormier Smith, noted that she is “a former prisoner of the Lukashenka regime for organizing women’s marches,” “during her imprisonment she was subjected to psychological torture and death threats,” “now she bravely fights for the protection of political prisoners and supports their families as a member of the Belarusian democratic movements in exile.” Before receiving the award, Garbunova stated that she regarded the award as “an expression of recognition of the contribution of brave Belarusian women who have been defending justice and promoting gender equality in Belarus for more than 20 years.” On March 5, the Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists of the Council of Europe launched its annual report “Press Freedom in Europe: Time to Turn the Tide”. It notes that in Belarus in 2023, security forces detained more than 20 journalists, and half of them have already been sentenced to prison terms. Most often, Belarusian journalists have been accused of facilitating extremist activities, distributing extremist materials, discrediting Belarus, participating in a terrorist organization, and gross violation of public order. Belarus ranks first in Europe in terms of the number of journalists in prison. On March 7, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) published a decision after reviewing a joint complaint filed by two Belarusian nationals who were detained in the central detention facility of the Main Internal Affairs Directorate of the Minsk City Executive Committee and the temporary detention facility of the Internal Affairs Department of the Zhodzina City Executive Committee. The Committee found that the constant surveillance of two women inmates through video cameras installed in their prison cells and under the watch of male guards was abusive treatment, violating their privacy, dignity, and rights. It noted that the two victims were detained in poor, unhygienic, and degrading conditions at both detention facilities. “Their specific needs as women, including physiological and medical needs, were not taken into account and amounted to discrimination on the grounds of gender,” said Committee member Elgun Safarov. “The lack of a specified area, building or cell designated to adequately accommodate female detainees, and the state party’s failure to ensure the protection of their dignity, privacy and physical and psychological safety in the facilities constituted violations by Belarus of its obligations under the Convention,” he added. The Committee recalled that, following the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Rule 81 of the Nelson Mandela Rules, women prisoners shall be attended to and supervised by women officers. It further emphasized that detaining women in facilities that do not address their specific needs constitutes discrimination. The Committee called upon Belarus to provide full reparation, including adequate compensation, to the two victims, as well as access to appropriate medical care to address the negative impact on physical and mental health. On March 8, at a briefing at the Belarusian Embassy in Vilnius on the “incommunicado” detention regime, in which a large number of political prisoners are held, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on UN Secretary-General António Guterres to intervene in the situation with political prisoners in Belarus. She noted that she had not heard from her husband, political prisoner Siarhei Tsikhanousky, for a year. For more than a year, there has been no news from other political prisoners: Mikalai Statkevich, Ihar Losik, Maryja Kalesnikava. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called the “incommunicado” regime a type of torture that affects not only political prisoners, but their families, who live in anticipation that “the worst” may happen. She recalled that five political prisoners had already died in Belarusian prisons. “Today I appeal to UN Secretary-General António Guterres: intervene. Demand to change the brutal policy of “incommunicado” in Belarusian prisons. It is in your power to save people’s lives. And this is not a political issue. This is a humanitarian issue. Political prisoners should be provided with access to qualified medical care, and communication with lawyers and families,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “Over these four years, we have tried many measures to release political prisoners, at least those who are on the humanitarian list. We appealed to the Red Cross, the Pope, politicians, and diplomats. But we still don’t know what the regime wants. Political prisoners are not a problem for the Lukashenka regime now. And we have to make sure that this was their problem, then they will look for opportunities to exchange, and release on different tracks. And if you want to make political prisoners a problem for Lukashenka, you need political will. There should be more decisive sanctions, the windows through which the regime continues to trade should be closed, and the world should be more decisive. Words of solidarity don’t work. Mechanisms must work, of which there are many in the democratic world, but, for some reason, there is no political will,” she added. On 8 March 2024, UN experts, including Anaïs Marin, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; Margaret Satterthwaite, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers;  Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion;  Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association; and Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, express their persisting concerns about the fairness of the trial of the chair of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and 2022 Nobel Peace co-laureate, Ales Bialiatski, and his two colleagues, Valiantsin Stefanovic, deputy chair, and Uladzimir Labkovich, lawyer and coordinator of “Viasna”’s observation of the August 2020 election. They were charged with smuggling by an organized group and financing of group actions grossly violating the public order on 3 March 2023 and sentenced to 10, 9, and 7 years of imprisonment respectively. “We are gravely concerned about disrespect for fair trial guarantees during the 2023 trial, notably the fact that access of the accused to their legal counsel was allegedly restricted, that they were kept handcuffed in a metal cage throughout the proceedings, in violation of their presumption of innocence, while independent media were reportedly prevented from attending the trial,” the experts said. They referred to letters they addressed to Belarusian authorities expressing concerns about the conduct of the trial, noting that it appeared to be based on politically motivated charges, and denouncing the designation of “Viasna” as an “extremist formation”. “Given the previous history of politically motivated harassment of “Viasna”, its chair, and members, there are solid reasons to believe that this time again, the trial’s real purpose was to punish legitimate human rights defense work, having a severe chilling effect on the freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association in Belarus,” they added. The experts urged Belarusian authorities to fully cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms regarding alleged human rights violations, quash the verdicts, and conduct a new trial, with fair trial guarantees and procedural safeguards.


Last week, Belarusian propagandists reacted to the news about the leaked conversation of high-ranking German military officers, during which they could talk about the prospect of missile strikes on the Kerch Bridge in Crimea, the specifics of the training of the Ukrainian military, etc. Pro-government political scientist Vadzim Yalfimau, in an article for the “Minskaya Prauda” newspaper: “German colonels and generals were caught red-handed. It doesn‘t matter who caught them, but they were caught. With smoking long tongues! In every sense: that they can‘t get out of it now and that they’ve said so much that they might get fired from the Bundeswehr and that their tongues, like those of the real heirs of Hitler and Keitel, are smoking in the frenzied hope of igniting a great world war. And they didn‘t have time to hide their fascist tongues, so the brand of the swastika is visible on them.” The author also praised Kremlin propagandist Margarita Simonyan for this leak, because it “is aimed at a good cause — the awakening of Europe!” On the same day, Yalfimau published another article, the target of which was French leader Emmanuel Macron, who announced the theoretical possibility of sending Western armies to Ukraine. Calling these words “dangerous political verbiage,” Yalfimau began to speculate about what prompted Macron to make such a statement and concluded that “most likely, Emmanuel was simply used as a throat, as a membrane, with which they voiced their own, yet forbidden dreams. Who used it? Yes, Biden, of course. Or those who stand behind his bent back.” The state media continues to discuss the death of 25-year-old Lisa, who was brutally raped in Warsaw on the night of February 24-25 and died. Since the news of the tragedy appeared, the state-owned channels have been spreading the narrative that the “opposition media” are allegedly afraid to report that the Belarusian was raped by a Pole, because “Poles feed them.” To refute this narrative, it was enough to check the publications of independent media, but the journalists of the state media did not do this. Information from official sources and statements by pro-government propagandists on this topic are actively disseminated and supplemented by the odious telegram channels associated with the Belarusian security forces. “Zheltye Slivy“ (Yellow Leaks): “The most shameful thing is how they protect the Polish rapist. Not a single fugitive propagandist has yet written that a Belarusian was raped and strangled by a Pole. That is, he is a priori a pan, a master, a superman”. On March 5, holding a meeting with leading members of the pro-government “Belarusian Union of Women”, Aliaksandr Lukashenka asked why this public association “is still not a party”, because “they would have no equal”, but immediately objected to himself: “However, in principle, what for, when people don’t take parties very well. You are already exerting tremendous influence, participating in all political and other processes.” At the same meeting, Lukashenka said that in Belarus “all talk about gender inequality is irrelevant”. It is significant that already on March 7, the head of the “Belarusian Union of Women”Volha Shpileuskaya, said in an interview that they would “think” about creating a women’s party, and referred to Lukashenka: “As the head of state said, everything should go from the inside, from below. Therefore, we will discuss, gather our women’s assembly and make a decision.” Following the meeting between Lukashenka and representatives of the “Belarusian Union of Women”, propagandist Yauhen Pustavoy called him a real “women’s president”: “Questions from the participants demonstrated that Aliaksandr Lukashenka is both a trusted interlocutor and a personal growth coach for them. But above all – a man you can trust. This is so important and necessary in today’s world. And a woman’s intuition does not fail. Never. Women always feel reliability and are drawn to courage. Therefore, Lukashenko is women’s President.” Other propagandists characterized Lukashenka in the same way on the eve of International Women’s Day. Ryhor Azaronak: “Belarusian and Russian women have always stood up for our leaders. hose who knows the value of both peace and heroism. Those who are waiting for their fighters. Those who pray for peace and Victory”. Vitalina Petrusevich, Editor of the “Mahiliou” TV and Radio Company: “I am 23. I was born under the President. I have lived with him, I live with him and I want to live with him for as long as Aliaksandr Grigoryevich will not give up. Because he’s a man. We women will always stand for him.” On March 6, at a meeting of the Board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Minister Siarhei Aleinik said that he sees “signs of sobering up” in Western countries, but noted that in 2023 the situation continued to deteriorate “solely by the hands and efforts of our counterparts.” In his opinion, the West opposes the Republic of Belarus for it being able to preserve and strengthen its independence in “difficult geopolitical conditions”. “We do not take any unfriendly or aggressive steps on our initiative, we only take retaliatory measures and declare our readiness for an equal and mutually respectful dialogue. We are not shy about it and we are telling the truth. This is also our strength. Westerners go as far as the illegitimate transport and financial blockade of our country. Even their own sanctions legislation is being applied arbitrarily. They harass their business, misinform their population, and grossly violate international trade law. At the same time, they understand that all this is to the detriment of their interests.” Aleinik promised that the Belarusian authorities “will continue the line” and at the same time will firmly seek the resumption of the free movement of vital goods, primarily humanitarian ones.” During the period under review, Leanid Kasinski, assistant to the Minister of Defense for ideological work in the armed forces, gave an interview to the BelTA project “In the subject”. He believes that Belarus is “at the peak of the arrow that Western “hawks” draw,” but at the same time he expressed confidence that the Armed Forces will cope with all challenges, so the Belarusian “people can be calm.” He also rejected the possibility that Russia might not win the war: “One of the options our opponents are betting on is Russia losing the war. Of course, this is a utopian idea, because Russia cannot lose. And the Western “hawks” who unleashed the conflict in Ukraine do not understand that Russia cannot lose, because the whole world will lose. The President has repeatedly said that nuclear powers do not lose. Russia is a powerful country with huge potential, so the stakes are high.” On March 7, pro-government political scientist, Piotr Piatrouski, in his telegram channel troubled himself with the situation when “under the sauce of fundraising for the victim of the regime,” the coverage of fines for an offense is actually legalized. In this regard, he proposed to criminalize such collections of funds to cover fines, as well as “nationalism and liberalism of all stripes: Belarusian, Russian, Polish, or Gabonese.” In his opinion, the propaganda and popularization of these ideologies led to “Maidan protests, ethnic and interreligious strife,” and therefore, “all this Westernism and Europeanism should be prohibited.” After the publication of information that the FSB of the Russian Federation shot a citizen of Belarus, who allegedly planned to commit a terrorist attack in Olonets in Russia on the instructions of the Ukrainian special services, Aliaksandr Shpakouski, adviser-envoy of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Russian Federation wrote that if it is true, then “there is another confirmation of the thesis that the so-called “zmagary” (a fighter, a champion, a zealot – a political label denoting citizens of Belarus who are opposed to the government) is a threat to the national security not only of Belarus but also of Russia”. Therefore, he considers it appropriate to recognize “all gangs assembled from Belarusian extremists on the territory of Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland” as terrorist organizations in the Russian Federation. Pro-government expert Aliaksei Dzermant agrees: “The language does not turn to call the liquidated terrorist a Belarusian, a citizen of Belarus. [He is] A non-human. Only such people can plan to harm our country, Russia. And it is necessary to destroy these non-humans by joint efforts.” On March 7, it became known that the pro-government “Union of Writers of Belarus” received a grant from the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation to hold the literary festival “Rus i Belarus adzina” (“Rus and Belarus united“). This was announced at a press conference by the head of the Minsk city branch of the organization, Mikhail Pazdniakou. The festival will open on April 5 in Minsk with the support of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War and government agencies. Some of the events will be held in Lipetsk, Russia; funding is “fully provided through the Lipetsk writers’ organization,” he added. On March 8, the Ukrainian media published the text of an interview with Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky to the Italian Rai 1 TV channel, in which he called the Republic of Belarus “diplomatically occupied” and expressed confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin “fully manages both the law enforcement bodies on the territory of Belarus and the troops on the territory of Belarus,” and the proof of this was the attack on Ukraine from the Belarusian territory. The state media and leading propagandists have not yet responded to this statement. An indirect reaction can be considered the opinion of the analyst of the pro-government BISI Aliaksei Audonin, voiced on the air at Ryhor Azaronak’s channel: “Ukraine did not provoke Russia to start special military operation, they planned the seizure of Crimea, the seizure of the Black Sea coast of Russia, a blow to Belarus. They planned everything. And the special military operation is not a reaction to provocation, it is, on the contrary, prevention. This is an action in advance so that they would not have the opportunity to implement their plans.”

Best regards,iSANS team


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