‘I knew I’d walk free!’ Belarus-born Donbas separatist sentenced to 2 years of freedom restriction

Alyaksei Yarshou has granted an exclusive interview to belsat.eu.

As reported earlier, Vitsebsk regional court decided to punish 29-year-old Yarshou with two years of freedom restriction for fighting on the territory of other countries (under Part 1 of Art. 363-3 of the Criminal Code). The hearing was held behind closed doors.

Mr Yarshou states he was fighting on the side of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic from March, 2016 to May, 2017. Alyaksei has a wife and child. There are photos of him posing with arms on his Vkontakte page.

This is the first reported case when a Belarusian citizen who fought for the separatists has been criminated.

Belsat.eu contacted the ex-fighter to get first-hand details of the unprecedented case.

Alyaksei Yarshou


‘I came to the KGB and gave them all the evidence’

– When and why did you decide to go to Donbas?

– In Pastavy I worked as a tractor driver, a labourer. I became interested in what was going on [in Ukraine]. Lord, I communicated with people there, I was up to speed on! I do not believe mass media, they said Donetsk was shooting friendlies. It is the corrupt babblers who said that! Our grandfather fought against fascism. I went there in March, 2016.

– Which unit did you get in?

– Intelligence. But I cannot name the unit – this is secret information. In total, I spent a year and two months in Donbas.

– Were you detained soon after coming jome? Which agency detained you?

– At first, my house were searched, they did not find any suspicious stuff. Then I was summoned for questioning. On May 31, I came to Vitsebsk KGB for questioning, and I was taken into custody in the investigator’s office. No assault team was needed! I was put in a temporary detention center for two days, and from there I was transferred to Vitsebsk detention facility Nr 2

I worked with the investigation and presented all the evidence of my own free will. I even gave then my DPR military card, it was added to my case file. Whom should I flee from?

Alyaksei Yarshou, phot. vk.com


‘Almost all data classified’

– Why was the hearing held in camera?

– Because of sensitive information! Almost all information was confidential, not for the general public. I cannot say much about it, I signed an order of non-disclosure…

– What punishment did the prosecutor demand?

– I cannot tell you about it … I can only say that he demanded a small penalty. That is, it was clear that they would release me.

– Did you get any money for your participation in military actions? Usually separatists pay 15,000 [about $ 260] to a soldier…

– I know, I saw such things in Donbas. But I did not get any money, my conscience would not let me.

– Do you want to go back to Donbas and fight for the DPR again?

– I cannot say. I do not know.

– Will you appeal against the sentence?

– No. What for?

Alyaksei Yarshou, phot. vk.com

In January 2016, state-run TV channel Belarus 1 reported with reference to the Interior Ministry that more than 130 Belarusians ‘had taken part or were participating’ in the fighting in Ukraine.  Until now, there has been no information about the trials of Belarusian-born fighters of the unrecognised republics in the public domain.


See also