Ukrainian MP Igor Guz and Belarusian volunteers Yan Melnikau and Illya Khrenau held a briefing in the Verkhovna Rada.
Igor Guz urged the Ukrainian leadership and law enforcement agencies not to sanction the extradition of foreign citizens who fought for Ukraine in Donbas. The MP recalled that the homes of Belarusian volunteers had been recently searched and stressed that Lukashenka’s regime continues to exert psychological pressure on their families. According to Guz, the Belarusian KGB and Alyaksandr Lukashenka himself are trying to persuade the Ukrainian authorities to deliver the volunteers to Belarus where they will face trial then.
The deputy and his colleagues came up with the initiative of calling a moratorium on the extradition of foreign nationals who fought for Ukraine.
“This is a matter of principle, and we need to protect the guys who are risking their lives for the integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state. Many of them lost their lives there. And what is happening now? Our state may start cooperating with punitive agencies of the Republic of Belarus and send these men to jail. I am asking our leadership not to play such games. In the near future we will introduce the corresponding bill to the Verkhovna Rada,” Guz said.
“Due to the volunteers’ involvement, Krasnoarmeysk and Avdiyivka remain Ukrainian. I was on ‘hot spots’ in the villages of Piski and Belakamenka as well. We came to help our brotherly nation. We understand that Ukraine which faced the attack is protecting not only its own interests but also the interests of the whole of Eastern Europe. We are fighting on the Ukrainian side and defending the freedom of Belarus. But now we are being persecuted by the Belarusian authorities,” Yan Melnikau, a fighter of the tactical group ‘Belarus’, said.
Ilya Khrenau, an instructor of the Azov regiment, added: “In other volunteer battalions there are many people who have found themselves in the same situation. We are asking for the Ukrainian authorities assistance in the formation of a legal volunteer battalion which will unite all the foreign volunteers who came to defend the integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state.”
On April 4, The House of Representatives of Belarus made amendments to the legislation of the country, including Article “Mercenarism”. If earlier this article was enforced only against Belarusian citizens who were paid for their participation in military operations in another country. Now the state considers mercenaries even people who went to war not for money.
According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, the country’s law enforcement agencies opened 135 criminal cases against citizens of Belarus who fought or are fighting in Donbas.