Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the democratic opposition in Belarus, has warned that as long as the Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko remains a servile Russian vassal “the Ukrainian struggle for freedom will be tougher.”

Writing in the Guardian, she says: “Lukashenko’s invitation for Russian troops to perform a hybrid occupation of Belarus has placed my country at the centre of the crisis in eastern Europe. Yet it remains part of the solution. Overthrowing Lukashenko would accelerate victory for Ukraine.”

Tsikhanouskaya, who is widely believed to have won the presidential election her country in August 2020 that Lukashenko rigged, points out that the Belarusian people are disgusted at the Lukashenko regime’s support for the Kremlin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and are resisting. The recent attack by partisans with two drones on a Russian surveillance aircraft deployed at a Belarusian airbase attests to this.

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“The attack on the Russian spy plane is not the first example of resistance,” she adds. “Cyber-partisans have performed a series of audacious hacks on Belarusian state databases. Resistance fighters have blown up transport networks in an attempt to constrict the supply of Russian arms into Ukraine. And hundreds of Belarusians have enlisted to fight the Russian aggressor on Ukrainian territory itself.”

The Belarusian democratic leader reminds British readers that “Most Belarusians are quintessentially European and wish to live peacefully in a democracy. They want Russian troops to be withdrawn from Ukraine and from Belarus immediately. They recognise that Lukashenko is a war criminal and hope that he will eventually face justice” before an international tribunal.   

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