20 January 2018, Saturday, 7:57

Zubr from Donbas battalion: I help Belarusians by helping Ukraine


A Belarusian explains why he fights against Russian occupants.

New soldiers formed new combat units at a training base near Kyiv. Donbas commanders appealed to the National Guard command and the Ukrainian interior minister asking to send more troops to the Donetsk region. The commander asked to form a new battalion, Donbas-2, as he has more than 1,500 volunteers in reserve, Belsat TV reports.

There are some Belarusians among soldiers. One of them, nicknamed Zubr, hides his face, name and other information that can be used against him or his family. He even asked to change his voice.

“I help save the integrity of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. It will also help our people,” he says.

There are 60 volunteers from Belarus and Russia, but they cannot join one of the most well-known unit of the National Guard. They need Ukrainian citizenship or a residence permit.

“Belarusians and Russians with a residence permit are registered in the battalion as servicemen,” battalion commander Semion Semionchenko says.

Soldiers of the battalion do not receive money. They are struggling for the idea – free Ukraine as home for all free people regardless of their nationality. Soldiers from other countries say they feel they are among friends.

“We are really fraternal nations. Many of them want to be with their brothers in hard times,” Semion Semionchenko said.

The Ukrainians began to talk about the brotherhood with the Belarusians during the Maidan protests, which attracted many Belarusians, and after the death of Mikhail Zhyzneuski, who was killed by the riot police. For many Belarusians, Maidan became the place where their dream about freedom came true.

“This is something that we lack: if someone is in trouble, if he is beaten, Ukrainians go to and save their friend. We didn't have this,” Zubr says.

Soldiers of the National Guard's battalion have trainings at the base near Kyiv and learn how to fight against terrorists.

“I made my choice. It's most likely that I will be considered a criminal in my home country, but we'll find some legal tricks in order not to consider it a crime,” he said.