5 February 2023, Sunday, 3:33
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Kalinouski Regiment Deputy Commander: Liquidation Of Lukashenka's Regime Is Long Overdue

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Kalinouski Regiment Deputy Commander: Liquidation Of Lukashenka's Regime Is Long Overdue

There are several scenarios.

Briefly about the events of the past week, which concern Ukraine and Belarus. Ukraine has terminated its agreement with Belarus on space research. It happened recently. Meanwhile, the gap between the authorities and the people is getting bigger in our country. The repression and tyranny continues. Another landmark event during the week: the death of Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei. He was allegedly maintaining the balance of relations between the Russian Federation and the democratic world. So now there is a risk that the tilt towards dictatorship will become even greater. The confirmation came immediately: Aliaksandr Lukashenka summoned the security bloc to a meeting to discuss whether additional measures "to protect and defend the republic" are needed.

The regiment named after Kastus Kalinouski promises to return Belarus to the path of democratic development. But so far the volunteers are fighting in Ukraine as part of the AFU against the Russian Federation, and then, after our victory, the military formation will return home. Ukrainian Obozrevatel discusses with Vadzim Kabanchuk, deputy commander of the Kastus Kalinouski regiment, the way they are fighting now and the return of voters' rights in Belarus.

- Greetings, Vadzim! Let's start with the topic that was mentioned in the announcement. What's your attitude to the attempts to turn the death of a member of the self-proclaimed Belarusian president's government into a kind of conspiracy to eliminate Lukashenka himself and that he will be the next one?

- The fact is that such regimes always trigger certain conspiracy theories, as the regime is non-transparent and very closed. It often happens that some events, which may be natural, give rise to such speculations and gossip.

Although I do not rule out a version that he could be helped, by Moscow, for instance. They did not like Makei, for they considered him such a pseudo-Belarusian patriot, even a nationalist. It was because he appeared there once in a Belarusian embroidered shirt. And this is, you know, a nasty thing for Moscow. It's rather funny for me, in the sense that some of our supposedly oppositionists are grieving over the death of such a great "liberal" and "enlightened figure" as Makei. In reality, he is an integral part, a cog in the dictatorship that has been oppressing and destroying everything Belarusian in Belarus for decades.

- Still, we know that Lukashenka has strengthened his own security and changed the persons guarding him and his entourage. I also stated that in the announcement: he gathered his non-legitimate team together to discuss how to strengthen the protection of the Republic. I have a question in this regard. We do not really expect a full-scale attack from Belarus any more. They often scare us about it, however, it has failed to happen so far. And we know that there are not enough forces, and let's say, it will be practically impossible to realize it. But why has the council been brought together now and why is the rhetoric that the republic needs to be defended from someone being raised again?

- The thing is that they understand very well that neither the Ukrainian people, nor we Belarusians, normal Belarusians, will forgive them for what happened since the beginning of the full-scale war in February. Because no matter whatever he says that he did not send his ground forces to the ground operation, but he did help infrastructurally, he did help with intelligence, he did help with fuel, with treatment of the wounded. Now he is supplying ammunition, military equipment, he is providing his military training grounds.

And this is why, in terms of participation, I think there is no doubt in Ukraine that at least indirectly he is taking part in this war.

Another very important aspect is that the shortest way to attack Kyiv is from the territory of Belarus, and it is a permanent threat to Ukraine. As long as this dictatorial regime exists, which has signed all sorts of treaties, including military ones with the Russian Federation, it is a permanent threat to Ukraine.

Offensive scenarios, in fact, may not only involve the Belarusian army. Lukashenka understands that the army is not entirely loyal to him and is absolutely unwilling to go to war with Ukraine. We know it too. He may sell it to Putin, and Putin will try to persuade him in every possible way. For example, they can make such a combination, that Belarusians will go in the second echelon. And maybe Russian troops will form the first echelon, and they can concentrate them very quickly. As we know they are modernizing their railway tracks now, although our railways in Belarus used to work perfectly, and all infrastructure for civil purposes used to work well. But here they may have a plan for very fast concentration of forces, they will take into account the mistakes of February, and therefore they will have to do it in a very short period of time.

- So, you still think that they are now acting in unison. I am talking about two crazy dictators, and the option that Lukashenka can be liquidated and that it will be done at the hands of Russia is now unlikely.

- You see, if Putin puts the squeeze on him until he agrees, if Putin so urgently needs the land involvement of the Belarusian army, it is a technical issue. It makes no difference whether Lukashenka or some other Petushenka is formally in charge of Belarus. For now we can say that Belarus is already under occupation. This is such quasi-independence, which is simply advantageous to Putin for some purposes, and they are keeping it. Among other things, there are more horrible theories regarding the reasons for maintaining this quasi-independence of Belarus. For example, in order to project force, including with the help of nuclear weapons.

- Yes, but you have mentioned the scenarios that are being discussed now, the way Belarus is involved now and may get involved in the future. Yet we are aware from open sources that about 15 thousand of Belarusian military men may agree to take part in military operations. It is clear that this is a very small number, but still there are these people. As a military man, as a Belarusian, do you try to communicate with them and are there any informational messages to them, how to stop them?

- I suppose we are now talking about some volunteers who will voluntarily agree to take part in the war. There can only be one and very brief conversation with these guys - their annihilation. Well, whoever makes it in time, let them surrender. It is just that we know, we have the information about actual Belarusian brigades, about the Belarusian army in general, that only two out of ten soldiers are ready to take part in this war with Ukraine to some extent, 8 persons do not want it.

- But how to convince these two, for example, they are reserve officers of Belarus, how to convince these two that there is no need to do it?

- Well, 155 millimetre ammunition and HIMARS will convince them very quickly. And with the rest of the lads we will establish communication, and we will let them know technically how to join our side or surrender in order to stay alive. I have no doubt that if the army of Belarus crosses the border, it will vanish very quickly and cease to exist.

- You have repeatedly said that you are ready to stand in the first line on this side and meet, among others, Belarusians, and defend the territory of Ukraine from the illegal invasion. And yet, do you think that mobilization is still possible, or we have done everything with the help of information channels, with our communication system with the partisans, with Belarusians who understand the reality of this war, so that mobilization would not take place and young people would not give their lives for the benefit of dictators?

- No doubt, the information component is very important, and we have already made several appeals, and we know that the AFU has made an appeal saying that we should not get involved in this war. However, at the same time we understand what the army is, moreover the army of Belarus. It is a strictly vertical structure, and if an order is given - they are bound to execute that order. So here we have a message to the lads who will not want to take part in this reckless scheme. We will show them technically how they can surrender or move to our side. As for those two out of ten who will want to show their valor, I think their adventure in Ukraine will come to an end pretty soon.

- Will your meeting with your compatriots at the border automatically mean that you go on, that you enter Belarus and you go towards your main objective - the liquidation of Lukashenka and his regime, or not? Or will we work here, in the territory of the Ukraine, until the victory, and after that you will conditionally enter the territory of Belarus?

- We are servicemen of the Ukrainian army and we have a strict vertical subordination, so I can't say what will happen and in what way. We can enter the territory of Belarus in case the AFU decides to transfer the hostilities to the territory of Belarus. Whether it will be as the result of counterattack or it will be some plan to de-occupy Belarus, we are ready to go ahead on the edge, and we are saying it to our leadership.

At the same time, we remember the glorious partisan traditions of the Belarusian people and now there are people who are ready to start de-occupation of the country not with balloons and flowers but with something more serious. It is clear that people need a certain trigger, certain events. The beginning of a ground operation can become a trigger. For I have no doubt that they will be stopped at the border line, then a defeat will follow and they will roll back.

I think this issue is long overdue, it is even outdated. About eliminating this regime, which is simply a puppet in its essence and poses a permanent threat not only to Ukraine, but to the whole region.

- Let's talk about what is happening inside the country. As you have once again stressed that indeed you are part of the AFU. Yet we often hear that there are problems with legalization of Belarusians in our troops, obtaining citizenship, status of a combatant. It is not clear what to do in the situation when a Belarusian is taken prisoner. And we know what awful consequences await him in the republic. How do you feel now on the territory of Ukraine, what is the interaction with the AFU at a high level and what could be improved?

- We have military identity cards. And in fact the military ID can serve as a substitute for the residence permit in Ukraine. There are no legal problems with our guys who are contracted by the AFU. There is a certain part of Belarusians who cannot sign contracts for one reason or another: yes, they have certain problems, because there is an out of hand idea that Belarusians are Russia's allies and there are, among others, volunteer activists who actually help Ukraine. We have articulated this problem before the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

- So, this dialogue exists, you are heard and the leadership of Ukraine understands what steps need to be taken right now.

- Absolutely. One cannot put all of the Belarusians under the same roof. It is because Belarus is very different, and the majority of our population is against this war, against the things that are happening. It's just very difficult for the civil society of Belarus. You know, it's like comparing with Donetsk, for example. You can't kick these orcs out of Donetsk by peaceful demonstrations, we all understand that.

The situation in Belarus is approximately the same, but there is a substantial difference: the majority of the population of Belarus does not support Lukashenka's regime and, accordingly, they do not support Putin's regime. They know about it and we have thousands of political prisoners there. This is how they are mopping up their environment, mopping up their rear. Because they understand that there is a great threat of people's uprising there.

- I will add a little more about the prisoners. We know that there are such cases. Not so many Belarusians were taken prisoner, but still. In one of our previous broadcasts we just stated that the death penalty awaits this military man in his homeland. So what should be done and what steps do you see now to ensure that these guys return to the territory of Ukraine and thus save their lives?

- Yes, we have raised this issue and are keeping it under control. We have two of our guys in captivity right now. They were taken prisoner near Lysychansk. We do not have reliable information on what is happening to them. As there were only two short videos of one and the other - orcs have posted them. We control this situation in every possible way, and we understand that there are some lists for exchange and there is, say, a priority of exchange. We try not to forget about our guys and we bring this topic up all the time.

- Then let's turn back, you know, to the risks that constantly exist on the part of the Republic of Belarus, and today you again emphasized that not only the exchange of live forces, but the exchange of equipment and those stockpiles that are in storage in Belarus is taking place. How can you assess the situation, is there still a lot in the depots or has everything already been transferred to the eastern part of the front line and further to the Russian army in order to attack the territories of Ukraine?

- It is difficult for me to judge, to give exactly quantitative estimations, because from the times when the Soviet Union ceased to exist Lukashenka has sold a lot of weapon. However we know that the Belarusian Military District was one of the strongest in the Soviet Union and we had very large stocks of arms and equipment. Some part is still there, they are handing it over.

We even know the geographic places where the regular echelons are coming from. Here the logistics leg is shorter for Putin than from somewhere beyond the Urals. And, perhaps, the equipment was in a slightly better condition in the Belarusian storage bases than in Russia. But then again, it is equipment of the Soviet Union times. These vehicles are 40-50 years old. We do understand that they are just scrap metal for modern weapons.

- Vadzim, now we are entering the winter and military experts in Ukraine are saying that this will be a definite turning point, the way the fighting is being conducted and what the scenario will be next. In your opinion, seeing what is happening on the front line, will we slow down, will we wait for a spring breakthrough or do we have the forces, capabilities and means to push the enemy out of our territories in the same active way, drive them away and mop up the occupied territories?

- The morale of the Ukrainian army is high. But the difference between the current weather and the summer is that the greenery has disappeared. It has become harder to conduct offensive operations. That is because there is virtually no camouflage effect. And precisely at this stage Ukraine needs heavy equipment more than ever in order to conduct effective offensives and to save manpower. Targets are being destroyed, the weaking of the front line is taking place.

The Ukrainians are well adept at using an indirect action strategy when long-range weapons and precision weapons are still doing their job. We are breaking them step by step, and the retreat from Kherson shows this. They are now trying to close the gaps with their "chmobics" [rude for Russian mobilized troops - Ed.]. But it doesn't work very well for them. And if they are pressed even in winter, they actually have huge logistical problems, they are the least prepared for winter conditions. We can see it in the example of Russian prisoners of war, they have poor clothes and webbings. Therefore, the Ukrainian leadership, I think, understands this factor, taking into account that it is necessary to press them.

Why is Putin constantly asking for a truce? Because he really needs this respite, a few months, to somehow come to his senses, somehow reorganize them. The main backbone of the Russian professional army has been knocked out today.

— Well, our project is called the “Observer. Belarus". We still try to talk more about how to change the situation inside your country in every program, about the ways to return to democracy. In addition to the fact that you are fighting inside Ukraine together with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, you announced political ambitions that you may manifest, including after our victory. But I would like to return to it again. This question is a little provocative, but I will ask it to you again. Will you return in camouflage uniforms with arms or will you still be wearing jackets will you bring democracy as politicians?

— We are ready for both scenarios. For us, this is not a matter of principle, but more of a technical issue. If the Lukashenka regime collapses somehow as a result of a Ukrainian victory, I mean on the territory of Ukraine, well, okay, well, let's go back in jackets.

If not, we will remember and restore Belarusian traditions, and partisanship. People there are ready for change. We know this because of 2020. The whole of Belarus came out and protested. We have never seen anything like this in history. This time, when the people will come to protest again, there is already a force that can really protect them. We will not allow any more massacre of the people there.

— Let me explain why I'm asking this again. Because people often comment on our videos indicating that there is some kind of stalemate. Volunteers went to Ukraine, politicians left for Europe and only the local population remained, which was intimidated by repressions, intimidated by prisons. And in this stalemate situation, probably, Belarus will not do without weapons and without you in the country with arms.

— Unfortunately, I predicted the escalation of the conflict and that there would be mobilizations, and Belarus would be drawn into this general mobilization. We understand that mobilization is equal to a big war. The conflict will escalate to the entire region and Belarus will be affected, including ground fighting. Everything will depend on the response of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I think that the hostilities will be transferred to the territory of Belarus, and this will make it possible in the end to put an end to the de-occupation and, in general, to this regime, to the dictatorship. By the way, this can cause irreversible consequences in Russia, because when they see that their only military ally is over, then, in fact, this can cause a domino effect.

— So, do you believe that it's the only one? Because we know who supplies UAVs to Russia. We understand that there are attempts to obtain missiles from other, let's say, isolated countries. Is Belarus the only such, you know, proven partner, if I may say so?

— Well, we are to take into account geographical location and the army. Because, basically, they can buy weapons all over the world, through third countries, bypassing sanctions, and so on. But the support of manpower is important, also Belarus is actually a foothold, it is such a ledge that threatens the Baltics, Poland, and Ukraine at the same time. Putin has a very convenient launching ground for constant forceful threats to the entire region. That is why I have such forecasts, perhaps gloomy, that Belarus will still be a battlefield.

— Well, Vadzim, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We want you to help us achieve victory with minimal losses. Well, then, I think that all of Ukraine will support you in your intentions to return democracy to Belarus or establish it. Because the regime has existed for too long, for decades. And so that together we can become part of a large European family.