On opposite sides of barricades: Belarusians at Ukrainian war (video)

Volunteer battalion ‘Donbas’ has formed new fighting units at a training centre near Kyiv. Battalion commanders have asked the National Guard and the Minister of Interior to feed reinforcement to Donetsk region before to the scheduled date. As there are more than 1500 volunteers, ‘Donbas’ commander have offered to form another battalion, Donbas-2.

‘In Focus’ has found our compatriot among the volunteers. A soldier who goes by the nickname Zubr (Bison) hides his face, real name and any information that can be turned against him or his relatives. He also asked to change his voice.

Video, ENG subs:

{movie}On opposite sides of the barricades: Belarusians at Ukrainian war. ENG subs|right|16962{/movie}

‘ZUBR’, volunteer from Belarus:

‘My contribution into saving Ukraine’s integrity, my assistance to the Ukrainian people will do good to our people, too.’

There are some 60 volunteeers from Belarus and Russia in the battalion. But one should have the Ukrainian citizenship or residence permit to join it.

SEMYON SEMENCHENKO, Donbas battalion commander:

‘We give employment to Belarusians and citizens of Russia possessing a resident card’.

The battalion fight not for money – no salary is paid here. The fight for the idea of a free Ukraine which would be home for free citizens regardless of their nationality. Non-Ukrainian fighters say they are in their element here.


‘We are real brotherly nations; many people want to be together with their brothers during the times of hardships.’

When Belarusians came to take part in the the protests on Maidan Ukrainians started to talk about ‘a real brotherhood’, which continued after the death of Belarusian Mikhail Zhyzneuski who was among the first victims of riot police. A lot of Belarusians consider Maidan as a place where a dream of freedom has come true. Unfortunately, Belarusian protesters repeatedly met with failure in their own country.

‘ZUBR’, volunteer from Belarus:

‘If anyone is in trouble, Ukrainians go and rescue them. Our situation was completely different. We have always lacked such solidarity.’

At the moment soldiers of the National Guard battalion are being trained to fight terrorists.

‘ZUBR’, volunteer from Belarus:

‘I’ve made my choice. There is every likelihood that I will be regarded as a criminal in Belarus, but we’ll find a way to legalise our activity.’

But some Belarusians do take the side of separatists. Journalists of ‘Komsomolskaya Pravda’ met with Natallia, a woman in uniform with the red-green official flag, in Sloviansk, Ukraine.

NATALLIA KRASOVSKAYA, a citizen of Belarus:

‘Before I came to Sloviansk I had lived in Belarus, Minsk region, the city of Barysau, Trusau Street.’

Several Belarusians even got medals ‘For Crimea’.

ANATOL MAUCHANAU, fights on the separatists’ side:

‘I am for a united Ukraine – from Lviv to Lviv. The resy is to be given back to Poland. And Chernihiv region, where my bride lives, should merge into Homel region.’

That’s it: the war might be someone else’s but own goals are being pursued.

Martsin Yarski, In Focus


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