Telegram Channel Suggests Belarusian Volunteers Are Fighting Against Russians in Kyiv – Belarusian volunteers are reportedly participating in the defense of Kyiv as hand-to-hand fighting breaks out in the Ukrainian capital. Reports suggest that volunteers from the country have defied Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s allyship with Russia and have formed their own battalion.
“Belarusian volunteers are participating in the defense of Kyiv,” reporter Thomas van Linge wrote on February 26. “Lukashenko has made the territory of Belarus complicit in the invasion, but Belarusians are making it clear they oppose the Kremlin.”
Almost two weeks later, a Telegram channel named “@belwarriors” called for additional Belarusian volunteers to join their battalion as fighting breaks out in Kyiv.
“Belarusian volunteers who are now fighting for Ukraine call on real men to join them!” the account writes. “So far, the most experienced fighters of our detachment are at the forefront. The rest do not waste time and train for whole days, and every day there are more and more of them.”
Videos shared on the account show Belarusian soldiers in full combat gear, holding weapons and calling for others to join them.
Their battalion was reportedly been named “Kastus Kalinouski” after the 19th-century Belarusian revolutionary, writer, and lawyer. Kalinouski led the January Uprising in the Russian Kingdom of Poland in 1863, which aimed to restore the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
“Belarusians set up a separate battalion named after Kastus Kalinouski to defend Kyiv,” the Telegram channel writes.
“Volunteers call to join the ranks of Belarusians to defend Ukraine. Everyone will be able to do tasks according to their abilities.”
Belarus Denies Involvement in Ukraine War
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko’s support for Russia in this conflict is unwavering – even if he denies that his military is operating in Ukraine at all. In February, the country offered to host nuclear weapons for Russia before the Ukraine invasion broke out.
“If necessary, if such stupid and mindless steps are taken by our rivals and opponents, we will deploy not only nuclear weapons, but super-nuclear and up-and-coming ones to protect our territory,” Lukashenko said at the time.
On Friday, Lukashenko claimed that Belarusian armed forces were not taking part in the war in Ukraine and would not be officially fighting for Russia.
Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told the press that the Belarusian military is indirectly under the control of the Kremlin, however, arguing that Lukashenko has lost control.
“It seems to us that Lukashenko is not controlling our military anymore, the only thing he is controlling is repression against the Belarusian people,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “We see signs of the military occupation of Belarus.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.