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Russia exploring hybrid war in Belarus — ambassador

Roman Bezsmertnyi, former ambassador to Belarus
Article by: ІК
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Russian special services have launched trial balloons on creating separatist republics in Belarus, said Roman Bezsmertnyi, Ukraine’s former ambassador to Belarus, during an interview with Radio Liberty, March 19.

On Tuesday, March 17,  you stated on TV channel 5 that Russian special services have started disintegration processes in Belarus. On what basis have you reached such conclusions? Do you have any exclusive information on the activities of Russian special services in Belarus?

First of all, you need to pay attention to the social networks and to the fact that suddenly, for no apparent reason, the idea of creating various republics in Belarus has appeared. What is this?

In the KGB toolkit this is called a “trial balloon.” Right now the Kremlin wants to see how society and the Belarusian government react to these information items. This is a first. Second, the cancellation of the meeting of the three presidents in Astana is not accidental. And the coincidental emergence of certain postings in mass media and certain organizational activities are even less accidental. These are all trial balloons.

With regard to available data, you will have to excuse me but I cannot discuss them because no one can ever disclose such sources.

But this information exists?

Yes it does.

On TV channel 5 you also said that Belarus can be “pulled into the game” in order to torpedo the Baltic countries. What did you mean?

This is the same mechanism that can be observed in Ukraine. I think you must have heard that there is this so-called “Russian foreign legion.” If you look at the biographies of the people from this legion, you will see that most of them have already had a trial run in Ukraine on the side of the “separatists.” So pay attention to the number of Belarusians there. This is not accidental. Whom will they serve in Belarus? Russia, Belarus? Or will they carry out instructions on provocation in Lithuania and Latvia? Here the assignment is very clear: their main function is to create provocations in the Baltic region.

In your view, why should Putin do something against Lukashenko today? After all, Lukashenko is considered the Kremlin’s last ally?

This game is not against Lukashenko just as the game in the Donbas is not really against Ukraine. This is a big geopolitical game in which Ukraine, Belarus and Lukashenko are objects and not subjects in the process.

Still, why would Kremlin want to destabilize Belarus?

To strengthen his influence. What does Putin need today? Increased pressure to free him to influence the Baltic states.

How do you assess the political line pursued by Lukashenko on the Ukrainian crisis?

He has no independent position! He is part of the Kremlin camp followers choir and he only does what he is allowed to do and only within the framework established by Putin. What kind of independence of Lukashenko are you talking about? It never existed, does not exist, and will not exist. He will do what Putin tells him to do. If he does not, he will simply stop being president.

Today there is relative peace in eastern Ukraine. In your view, how long will this peace last and what can we expect in the near future?

Unfortunately, I cannot call this peace because bloodletting continues and people are being forced to leave the places where they have lived for dozens of years, where their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents have lived. Because this is not peace. This is unfinished war. How long will it last? Unfortunately, Ukraine has no influence on that. Today this conflict has gone beyond Ukraine: it’s a geopolitical game where Ukraine is only the battlefield.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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