Interviewed by Belsat TV, Ukrainian MP Igot Guz made a comment on the situation of Belarusian-born volunteer fighters for Ukraine who are now seeking asylum in Poland. They have already spent a week in a closed refugee center for refugees in the town of Przemysl.
What do you think about the step taken by the men who helped Ukraine but now are craving for help themselves?
I met with them a few months ago. They wanted to become citizens of Ukraine, but only our president grants citizenship. He has dozens of such applications, not only from Belarusians, but from Georgian and Russian volunteers as well. Unfortunately, the president has failed considered their requests favorably, which is, I am sorry to say, disgrace.
Why isn’t Poroshenko eager to grant citizenship to volunteer fighters?
It’s hard to say why the president does not take such decisions. I believe it to be a mistake, because the people who fought for Ukraine and want to stay here, cannot travel to Belarus for obvious reasons. I asked the president to grant citizenship to those who fought for the independence of Ukraine. I do not know why he did not, perhaps, the reason is his fear of volunteers.
The men say they were threatened with deportation despite the fact that you were willing to tackle their issue.
I met with them, they told me about it [treats], but I doubt that. No volunteer has been deported by Ukraine yet. I organised a meeting with head of the Migration Service for people who wanted to get a residence permit and we settled all issues.
The two men might not have wanted to further stay in Ukraine. At our meeting they said that they intended to go to Poland. I understand them, but it’s their choice.
What is Ukraine’s stance [on the subject] now?
If there are foreigners who want to serve in the Ukrainian army, they can do it legally. About a hundred people have done it already. If any Belarusian [fighter] faces a problem of obtaining of a residence permit in Ukraine for Belarus, I am ready to help them. There are appropriate means and tools. It is clear that it is not easy find a job when fighters quit the army, but many countries, including Poland, have such problems.
Thus, one should join the army to get a residence permit?
No, there are other options. For example, one can join any unofficial unit. It is not necessarily to be in the army.